LANSING, Mich. — Gas stations often price match, which makes gas prices appear to fall or rise at the same time. Sometimes, consumers suspect price gouging. Now, residents can report their concerns.
Fluctuating gas prices have frustrated residents in Michigan and across the country. The state Attorney General’s Office wants to help people navigate those prices and even report price gouging if they think they are seeing it.
The new one-spot website is an effort by Attorney General Dana Nessel in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. It’s designed to report gasoline quality issues as well as gas price gouging.
Price gouging occurs when a retailer charges a price that is well above the price another similar retailer charges.
“If you do, you know, suspect that or see that, you know, report it to the state to get a full investigation,” said Adrienne Woodland, the spokesperson of AAA in Michigan.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a press release that “Michiganders know that gas stations should not have drastically different prices whether they’re across the street or down the road.”
With the new website, state officials want to encourage consumers to report concerns.
"While it's common for prices to fluctuate at the pump, my office is ready to investigate any complaints of potential price gouging or other unfair practices,” Nessel said.
The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development ensures that gas stations are selling the correct quality and quantity of gas, but consumers are often concerned about why the prices fluctuate.
“Initially here in the United States, even before we really had a lot of cases in the US, COVID-19 globally was already affecting crude oil prices..." Woodland said. "But once a lot of those lock downs were lifted, you have the increase in demand for gasoline and prices slowly started to go up. And in 2021, as vaccines became readily available, there was more optimism of market, crude oil prices began to increase. And so, we saw increases in prices throughout the year."
Woodland said gas prices have been declining over the past six weeks due to a drop in crude oil prices caused by the rising cases of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.
Still, if you have any information regarding potential unfair gasoline pricing practices or other concerns, visit the MDARD website.
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