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State AGs Look Into Gas Gouging �" From Suppliers

The focus has shifted to determine whether suppliers are gouging retailers.
May 23, 2011

NEW YORK - Some state attorneys general are exploring whether fuel suppliers are gouging their retailer customers, reports CNN.

In New York, AG Eric Schneiderman "has initiated a probe to see if gasoline suppliers are gouging or otherwise manipulating prices," writes the news source, adding that his office has received numerous complaints from retailers since February.

Lauren Passalacqua, spokeswoman from the AG��s office, told CNN that the probe, "may show no wrongdoing. But where there are instances of gouging and price fixing, we will take action." Schneiderman was recently appointed to a national Oil and Gas Price Fraud Working Group that includes U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and representatives from the Department of Justice, the Commodity Futures Trade Commission, the Federal Trade Commission and the Departments of Agriculture and Energy, notes the news source.

Like New York, Maryland AG Douglas Gansler initiated a probe into both price gouging and price fixing both at the wholesale and retail levels after receiving several complaints from consumers and retailers. A Gansler spokesperson said the probe has found some instances where suppliers were gouging retailers, but declined to give details to CNN.

Jerry Delbene, a retailer in New York, is accusing his supplier, CPD Energy, of price gouging. "Distributors are charging us so much higher than what they're now paying for gas," he told CNN.

Tom Kloza of OPIS told CNN that complaints like Delbene��s have some merit, but at the same time suppliers and retailers tend to adjust their prices lower more quickly in some markets than in others.

"Bottom line is prices will drop and fast. Its just that in some markets, the lag time tends to be longer," he told CNN.