Idaho AG reaches gas price settlement with 3 fuel retailers

Courtesy KIVI

BOISE (AP) — Three Idaho gas retailers have reached a settlement agreement with Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden after Wasden’s office launched an investigation into their fuel prices.

The retailers — Maverik, Jacksons Food Stores and Stinker Stores — don’t admit any wrongdoing under the agreement, and say they disagree with the premise of the attorney general’s investigation. Still, they said they agreed to the settlement because it will help consumers facing economic difficulties during the pandemic.

The following is a joint statement issued on behalf of Jacksons, Maverik and Stinker Stores:

“Though we are typically competitors, all three of us are united in our motivation to help the communities we serve, especially during the hardships many of our neighbors are facing.

That is why, even as we disagree with the premise of the Office of the Attorney General’s inquiry, we cannot ignore the community benefit our agreement will create. It provides us with another opportunity to offer consumers a break at Idaho fuel pumps just when they need one. We are happy to do our part to make it happen.

The hundreds of convenience stores and gas stations in Idaho are a reliable source of employment for thousands of people. The industry has been a crucial, consistent provider of food, fuel and supplies for frontline workers and other customers during times of emergency. It is fitting that we would once again step up to voluntarily provide this kind of relief to all consumers.”

Wasden began investigating the fuel prices after state and federal officials declared a state of emergency because of the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year. Those emergency declarations triggered a state law that forbids companies from selling food, water, fuel or pharmaceuticals at excessive prices while the declarations are in effect.

Under the settlement agreement, the three companies will provide a combined $1.5 million in sales credits during 2021 by selling fuel at a lower margin than the average margin earned by fuel retailers in neighboring states. For instance, if gas stations in neighboring states normally sell fuel for 25 cents more per gallon than the wholesale cost, the three Idaho companies could earn credits of 10 cents per gallon by selling the fuel at 15 cents more than the wholesale cost.

“I am pleased that we were able to address my office’s concerns and reach agreement on this matter, and in doing so, provide Idaho consumers with meaningful redress,” Wasden said. “The parties spent significant time analyzing, reviewing and negotiating. I want to commend the retailers for their willingness to be part of this solution.”

The companies will have one year to complete the credit obligations, starting in January. To read the full agreement, click here.