For Immediate Release - April 25, 2011

AG Coakley Offers Advice to Drivers about High Gas Prices

BOSTON - As prices at the gas pump continue to rise, the Attorney General's Office is committed to providing consumers helpful information and to fighting higher gasoline prices when gas retailers violate the law. Today, AG Coakley issued the following advice to consumers and asked drivers with allegations of unlawful behavior regarding gas prices to contact her office's consumer hotline.

On Friday, April 22, AG Coakley issued a letter pdf format of    Industry_Letter_re_AGO_efforts_on_gas_prices.pdf  to Massachusetts petroleum retailers warning them against price gouging and other unlawful behavior. In addition, the National Association of Attorneys General has joined with the federal Department of Justice to form the Oil and Gas Price Fraud Working Group that will focus on making sure that consumers are not victims of price gouging.

The following is basic information to help drivers deal with rising gas prices:
 

  • Educate Yourself: You can research gas prices before filling up your tank. Some of the information is provided by other users who are on the lookout for their fellow commuters. Various websites and smartphone applications are available to help you identify rates at service stations near you. Visit our website at www.mass.gov/ago for a list of websites.


 

  • Price Gouging and Other Unlawful Conduct: It is unlawful for companies to collude to raise prices or to take advantage of market emergencies, such as natural disasters, to charge unconscionably high prices that are not explained by market fluctuations. AG Coakley is asking consumers with evidence of unlawful conduct to contact the office's Consumer Hotline at 617-727-8400 or file a complaint online.


 

  • Credit v. Cash at the Pump: Consumers should be aware that stations can charge different prices for using cash to pay versus using a credit/debit card. Massachusetts law allows gas stations to discount their price for consumers paying with cash. However, stations are not permitted to surcharge consumers paying with a credit card, although they may impose a minimum amount for credit card transactions. The gas station should be advertising the higher price clearly and conspicuously on all signage. You can read more about guidelines surrounding advertising and sale of motor fuel here.

For more information, please visit the Attorney General's .

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