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Soaring Gas Prices in Missouri Under Investigation

September 12, 2001
By: Missy Shelton
State Capital Bureau

Gas stations charging as high as five dollars a gallon are under investigation for price gouging.

MIssy Shelton has more.

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Hundreds of consumer complaints about high gas prices began pouring into the Missouri Attorney General's office Tuesday.

One gas station owner confessed to jacking up prices in response to the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., according to Attorney General Jay Nixon.

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Contents: One station owner confessed to raising his prices because he said he felt bad about it. He even wrote a check to the American Red Cross for $175.

The complaints from consumers came from all over the state, St Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, Joplin and McDonald County in Southwest Missouri.

Nixon says the reports made it clear that some stations were taking advantage of the tragic situation on the east coast.

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Contents: We saw price spikes as high as five dollars a gallon. It's dramatic and unjustified. We had reports of people filling up and station owners stopping them, raising the price and then letting them finish with a higher price.

Teams of investigators went to more than 30 gas stations armed with cease and desist orders.

Nixon says that resulted in prices dropping to what he calls normal levels.

All the stations investigated were the subject of consumer complaints.

For that reason, Nixon is calling on consumers to reports cases of price gougin.

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Contents: Nixon says consumers need to call his office because that's the only way they know about cases of price gouging.

If you have a consumer complaint, the number to call is 1-800-392-8222.

Nixon has not committed to prosecuting any of the stations suspected of price gouging.

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