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Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Is Is Way Past Time For This Investigation. The #CapitalistPigsInBowlingGreen Re Killing Us With Outrageous Gas Prices!

Adding fuel to the fire

Bowling Green citizens' group calling for gas price investigation
A group of citizens in the Bowling Green area plans to ask Attorney General Jack Conway to investigate the pricing of gasoline in the city.
On July 17, they will present to the attorney general’s office a petition with more than 2,000 signatures calling for the investigation.

Edward R. Caston Sr. of Bowling Green said he consistently sees Bowling Green with higher gasoline prices than those of surrounding communities.
Prices are also usually the same across most gas stations in the city, he said.
An attorney general investigation could discover the reasons behind the patterns that he sees, Caston said.
“I think what they’ll discover is that the people, whoever they are, have been doing this for too long,” he said.
Caston has been recording gas prices and said that on June 1, gas was 44 cents a gallon higher in Bowling Green than in Simpson County.
While Caston said he’s not anti-business, he does want legitimate reasons for gas stations to raise prices.
“All we want is some fairness,” he said.

Caston and friend William Skaggs have been collecting signatures on their petition since about April, going out occasionally doing things like standing in the parking lot of the Warren County Justice Center to talk to people about signing, Caston said.
They have collected 2,168 names, Caston said.
Caston wrote a commentary on Bowling Green gas prices that was published in the Daily News in February and said the response from people asking what could be done about gas prices prompted him to start the petition.

High gas prices don’t only affect what people pay at the pump, but can add to the cost of transporting products, Caston said. That cost can lead to higher prices for items such as bread and milk.
“It affects every one of us,” he said.
Skaggs said people responded well and seemed to know exactly what he was talking about when he asked them to sign the petition.
“You go north. You go south. You go west. You save 20, 30, 40 cents a gallon,” Skaggs said.

They have also been collecting signatures online at www.change.org, though most of them have come by asking in person, he said.
Caston said that if the signatures he has collected aren’t enough to prompt an investigation, he plans to ask what number would spur some action so he can continue to have people sign the petition.
“We’re willing to go out and get the other names,” he said.
Allison Martin, communications director for Conway, said the attorney general’s office investigated gas prices across the state in 2008. That investigation had an emphasis on the Louisville market but was statewide, which included Bowling Green, she said.

In the 2008 investigation, the attorney general concluded that Marathon Petroleum Co., in acquiring Ashland Oil in 1996, “negatively impacted competition in the gasoline market in Kentucky and in particular in the market of reformulated gasoline, which is required to be sold in Louisville and Northern Kentucky,” according to a 2011 press release from the attorney general’s office.
The investigation was referred to the Federal Trade Commission, which didn’t take any action, Martin said.
There have recently been some leadership changes at the FTC, and about two weeks ago Conway met with new Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, who was appointed to the position in March, and Commissioner Julie Brill. They agreed to have him forward the investigation to the FTC again, she said.

Kroger spokeswoman Melissa Eads said Kroger gas stations strive for prices similar to those of other neighborhood gas stations.
While factors such as natural disasters and fuel production can impact the cost of fuel on a more global scale, local Kroger stores keep tabs on the prices of their competitors in order to set their own prices.
“I can tell you that fuel is a very local and competitive business,” Eads said.
Each of Bowling Green’s Kroger stores has a gas station, and the store’s reward program can help people save money on gas, she said.
“That has really become an important part of our business,” Eads said.

The petition can be signed online at www.change.org. Enter “Jack Conway” into the search function for access.

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