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Gas Price Hikes, Not Necessary Says Stenehjem

By Dave Thompsn

Bismarck, ND – Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem wants North Dakota service stations to roll back any gasoline price increases -- to where they were before the terrorism attacks.

There were reports of gas stations hiking their prices yesterday -- after rumors of supply problems or higher wholesale costs. But Stenehjem says the supplies are there -- and there's really no reason for prices to go up.... "Wholesale prices are stable and several major marketers are freezing prices to sellers and that effect of these actions is that there is no reason for price increases at this time."

Stenehjem says if the gas stations don't roll back their prices -- his office will investigate.

"Under the Deceptive Practices Act, my office has authority to investigate and take legal action if we find that a retailer has unreasonable inflated gasoline prices, falsely representing that prices have increased as a result of a national crisis, or suggesting that a gas shortage exists when there is none would constitute a deceptive act."

Stenehjem says he's had a lot of complaints about gasoline price gouging. He's not sure how widespread the problem is but he says there's no justification for big price increases. If the price increases constitute a deceptive act, Stenehjem says his office can seek refunds for consumers and civil penalties of up to five thousand dollars per violation.