Democrats Suspect Gas Price Manipulation

By: Alyssa Fenske Email
By: Alyssa Fenske Email

LANSING (WILX)--Do you think you're getting ripped off at the pump? The high prices at the pump have state democrats demanding an investigation.

Unusually high gas prices has House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel and others thinking it may be more than normal economics.

"What we'd like is to uncover any illegal behavior behind these gas prices and hold those criminals responsible for their actions," said Greimel.

They're questioning whether Attorney General Bill Schuette is doing enough to protect consumers. A criticism Schuette strongly disputes.

In a statement released Tuesday, Schuette said his office monitors the wholesale and retail prices, and profit margins, of gas prices daily. So far this year he's found no evidence of price gouging.

Still, democrats want Schuette to look further.

"We call on him and his office to pick-up their investigations, to do a better job of getting to the bottom, and finding an explanation of what's going on."

Not everyone thinks manipulation is behind the gas prices spike. Local economists instead blame the recent problems with nearby refineries

"My instinct as an economist is not to think in terms of a price fixing conspiracy because theses are competitive markets. They go up for economic reasons they go down for economic reasons," said MSU Economist Charles Ballard.

Democrats aren't buying it.

"Nobody seems to know the reason for the (gas prices) other than there was a refinery shut down. So that is a reason for prices to just skyrocket?!" said Rep. Charles Brunner (D-Bay City).

If you suspect price gouging in your area, both the democrats and Schuette encourage you to contact the Attorney Generals office.

Schuette has not indicated if he will launch a further investigation.

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