Market factors, rather than price-fixing practices, were determined to be the cause for a significant increase in gas prices at three gasoline stations in Indianapolis and one in nearby Terre Haute, Ind.
The attorney general’s office conducted an immediate review of consumer and media reports that prices rose to $4.17 per gallon in a short period of time. The review was conducted by Tom Bodin, the attorney general’s chief economist, Inside INdiana Business reported.
The stations were asked to provide information for the pricing review including the wholesale prices paid for the gasoline sold on April 25, prices paid during the prior week and any other factors that contributed to their posted retail price.
The stations that have responded to the inquiry include Circle K and Phillips 66 located at the Southport Road exit off of Interstate 65 in Indianapolis. After an analysis of all market factors including state and federal taxes, credit card fees and operating expenses, the attorney general’s analysis concluded the per gallon retail price was justified. A review remains pending on the Speedway station located on Southport Road and the Terre Haute station located near North 22nd Street and Wabash Avenue.
Last week, United States Attorney General Eric Holder announced the formation of a new consumer protection watchdog group that will monitor the oil and gas markets for potential violations of criminal or civil laws. In his role as the consumer protection committee co-chairman for the National Association of Attorneys General, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller will be working with this group which includes representatives from the Department of Justice, the National Association of Attorneys General, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of the Treasury, the Federal Reserve Board, the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as the Departments of Agriculture and Energy.
Since 2003, the Indiana Attorney General’s office has monitored prices of gasoline sold at the retail level and compares the pump prices to the local and state averages, trading prices on the futures market and other statistical data. Current research indicates that price movements within Indiana, though drastic, are in line with price fluctuations occurring across the country which are affected by a dynamic global market and complex economic factors.
The attorney general’s office operates a gas price hotline so Hoosier drivers can report pump prices that appear to be higher than average. These reports are tracked and any outlying prices are reviewed by the chief economist. The hotline number is (866) 241-9753.