Representatives of Attorney General Carla Stovall were in Manhattan Tuesday night checking prices at some service stations. After the tragedy in New York and Washington D.C. some Kansas service stations started raising gas prices. It was reported that some in Wichita were selling gas at $4 to $5.
Here, lines started forming in the last morning and by 5:00 p.m. some stations had raised their price from $1.68 to $2.79. At $1.68 motorist are being gouged but now that will look modest. In Knoxville, Tn., the price of gas has stayed at $1.35 all summer.
At the Free Press took photos Tuesday night, we asked attendants: "Has the Attorney General contacted you yet." All but one responded with "No, why?" At one Shop Quick we were told that someone from the Attorney Generals office had been in. Later the main office of Shop Quick said they did not know about the price check.
As the Free Press moved around town to take the photos we found most service stations had jumped their prices between ten and twenty cents. We found two places that stayed with their morning prices. Peerless Tyre Co. on West Anderson sold gas all day at $1.68. Gas-4-Less on north third stayed at $1.64 all day. Both stations had long lines most of the afternoon and evening.
The Free Press called the Attorney Generals office twice on Wednesday. The first call was to get the warning they had announced on Tuesday and the second was to ask questions about gouging in Manhattan. The second call was put on hold because they were busy.
On Tuesday both Kansas Governor Bill Graves and Attorney General made statements to the press that if gouging took place they would be breaking the law. Here is Stovallís announcement:
"Attorney General Carla J. Stovall today warned gasoline retailers throughout
the state that her office will begin an immediate investigation of alleged
price gouging of retail gasoline which has been reported today by consumers.
Stovall said that under the Kansas Consumer Protection Act, it is unconscionable
to grossly exceed the price at which similar property or services are readily
available. She said that charging exorbitant amounts for gasoline that
retailers have already paid for is a shameful to attempt to make an immoral
profit from a national tragedy."