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Attorney General Jay Nixon Collects Fines from Gas Stations

October 02, 2001
By: Amanda Joyce
State Capital Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - Every gas station in Missouri that raised prices above $2.49 a gallon after the terrorist attacks have been punished, Attorney General Jay Nixon announced Tuesday.

A total of 48 stations have agreed to pay a total of $60,043 for raising gas prices. That sum includes both penalties and the state's investigative costs.

The stations paid the penalities after being threatened with legal action by Nixon.

"Had these stations not met the state's demands then we would have sued them this morning," Nixon said Tuesday.

Every station asked to pay a fine complied with Nixon's demand and met the Oct. 1 deadline, Nixon said.

No Boone County gas stations were asked to pay a penalty.

The money collected will go to school funds in each station's district.

As many as 1,000 complaints from consumers flooded Nixon's office after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11. Nixon said it was these complaints that fueled his office's investigation.

On Sept. 12 Nixon's office announced that they would investigate the complaints and demand a fine of either $1,000 or three times the profits made by the gas stations, whichever was higher.

Not every station that was investigated was asked to pay a fine.

"Some stations were able to prove that they did not actually charge higher prices, even though their signs said otherwise," Nixon said.

Nixon said it was important to remember that the vast majority of gas stations did not price gouge consumers.

The current laws in effect against price gouging were established after the flood in 1993.