Nixon Nicks Waddill's Express Lane for $2,000

Mo. station to pay, comply after pricing investigation

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A gas station sued by Attorney General Jay Nixon last September as part of his investigation into gasoline prices will pay the state of Missouri $2,000 and comply with state consumer protection laws, under an agreement with Nixon that was filed late last week in Greene County Circuit Court.

Nixon's lawsuit against Waddill's Markets Inc. contended that its Express Lanes station in Springfield, Mo., violated Missouri consumer protection laws last summer when it increased its price to $3.19 per gallon for a period from August 29 to September 12.[image-nocss]

This agreement brings to a close our post-Katrina gas price investigation and legal action, Nixon said. Our investigators pored over a great deal of information that led up to our legal action against stations that we believed violated the law with their gas prices. This sends a strong message that we will act if we believe that someone is trying to take advantage of a natural disaster and prevent consumers from making rational buying decisions.

Nixon launched an investigation on August 31 into retail gasoline prices in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The investigation included analysis of gasoline pricing data throughout Missouri and the review of billing and pricing documents from gas stations where consumers had complained of high prices. Investigators also examined thousands of gasoline receipts from state vehicles.

As a result, Nixon reached agreements in September with nine other Missouri stations that were being looked at for price gouging. Those stations paid a total of $6,750 to their local school funds and agreed to comply with Missouri consumer protection laws.

The Attorney General credited the assistance of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources' Energy Center and the Missouri Department of Agriculture in helping with field work to investigate complaints.