Archive for Thursday, September 20, 2001

Price jumps at pumps fuel backlash

September 20, 2001

After LaDonna Lickteig saw gas prices jump to $3 a gallon after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania, she said she'd never get gas at Casey's again.

Increased gas prices across the state left customers unhappy and prompted the state attorney general's office to solicit complaints about the price spikes.

Sept. 28 the state attorney general's office will release the names of stations that have agreed to a settlement.

Casey's, which has to compete with gas prices in Lawrence, is offering refunds and is talking with customers personally, according to a press release from the corporate offices in Iowa.

Public information officer Mark Ohlemeier said until then his office wouldn't have information about specific stations.

"One of the main reasons for that is because we want to make sure that the stations that people did complain about, that those complaints were legitimate," he said.

But the attorney general is offering up to as many as 140 stations across the state to join the program.

"Those choosing not to we may want to take some action against," he said.

The program is offered to stations that charged $2.49 or more per gallon Sept. 11. They must agree to: refund customers the difference between the spiked price and the regular price; refrain from future unfair pricing violations; pay $250 in fees to the state and $750 to the Sept. 11 Fund.

For instance, for someone who owns three different stations, Ohlemeier said, the charges will apply threefold.

He said some district attorneys were working on prosecuting stations themselves.

Douglas County District Attorney Christine Kenney said that the county was compiling complaints from customers about gas prices to send to the state attorney general's office rather than prosecuting the cases itself.

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