Kentucky attorney general announces investigation into gas prices - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Kentucky attorney general announces investigation into gas prices

The price of gas in Louisville is abnormally high.  That's according to Attorney General Jack Conway, who Thursday announced an investigation into gas pricing.  And legal action could follow.

Gas in downtown is $4.29 a gallon -- higher than the rest of the state.  Attorney General Jack Conway says if unfair business practices have occurred, his office is prepared to take legal action.

Louisville gas prices are high -- too high, says Attorney General Jack Conway.  The A.G's office has begun to question retailers and wholesalers about gasoline pricing within Jefferson County.

Conway says, "If we find collusion, if we find a violation of the Kentucky Consumer Protection Act, or suspicious activity, we are immediately going to issue subpoenas and civil investigative demands."

His announcement comes one day after Gov. Steve Beshear and Mayor Jerry Abramson called for a fact-finding mission into the local increase at the pump.

Conway says his office will first have an industry expert examine market trends.  The expert was retained by the state for its current "price gouging" lawsuit against Marathon Oil.

Conway explains, "We've been talking to him and he's been telling us that something extraordinary is going on here in the Louisville market."

Meanwhile, Congressman John Yarmuth is urging president Bush to restrict oil price margins for speculators:  "Their sole function is to make money for them at the expense of us."

Yarmuth says oil speculators are often the reason for price increases. He's hoping legislation addressed next week will touch on this issue along with restricting oil margins.

Yarmuth also says, "Experts estimate that this activity could be inflating the price by one half. As much as one half the price of $144 barrel of oil."

He says the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has the authority to restrict futures traders -- Yarmuth wants the President to ask the CFTC to do just that:  "So while he tends to support the oil companies, maybe he will realize the public interest is more important."

Gasoline is a good that has inelastic demand.  As long as consumers need to travel, demand will remain constant.

The issue has become political. Yarmuth and other Democrats contend offshore drilling is not a quick remedy and would not increase our supply.

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