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Alaska lawmakers question state's gas prices

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Apr 28, 2011


JUNEA, Alaska (Legal Newsline) - Drivers in Indianapolis aren't the only ones angry over rising gas prices. So are Alaskans.

According to The Associated Press, three Alaska lawmakers sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder this week asking for him to look into the state's increasing gas prices.

Reps. Scott Kawasaki, Pete Petersen and Chris Tuck, all Democrats, say the average price per gallon of gas -- $4.10 -- is hurting working families and businesses in the state.

Last week, 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 their letter to Holder, the Alaska lawmakers note that the state has had the highest gas prices in the nation since 2008, despite it being a major oil producer. They say they want Holder's watchdog group to give their state special attention, the AP reported.

Alaska isn't the only state feeling the pinch at the gas pumps.

Indiana drivers complained this week to Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller about the significant increases at certain stations.

Zoeller's office said in a statement late Wednesday that it found market factors, rather than price-fixing practices, to be the cause of $4.17 per gallon prices.

A review, it said, was conducted by the attorney general's chief economist, Tom Bodin.

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 responded to the inquiry were 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 Office concluded that the higher 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 N. 22nd Street and Wabash Avenue, it said.

"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," Zoeller's office said in a statement.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at

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