Illinois legistlators raid DCCA

Illinois legistlators raid DCCA

By Hans Detweiler

By Hans Detweiler

Editor’s note: The following was originally sent as a letter to Illinois Attorney General James Ryan in June 2001 in regard to lower gasoline prices. We submit it here as an item of public interest.

I was interested in the reaction of your office to my call for action to lower gasoline prices. In particular, your staff made comments to several news outlets indicating that you had conducted a thorough investigation into the spike in gasoline prices last year.

I would be very interested to receive copies of the details and findings of your own investigation, if any are available.

As you may know, Attorneys General in Iowa and Missouri launched their own investigations into gas price hikes in their states in addition to cooperating with the Federal Trade Commission probe. Attorney General Tom Miller of Iowa and Jay Nixon of Missouri also publicly pressured oil companies to lower prices after their investigations found evidence of excessive profits. There was no like response from your office on the matter.

I am interested in why your office chose to be silent on this issue.

I refuse to remain silent as gas prices remain artificially high, and hope you will lend your voice to the cause of lowering gas prices.

I ask you to join my call for an end to zone pricing, as Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has done in Connecticut, and support banning single source distribution contracts that prevent local gas station owners from shopping for the best price for their particular brand of gasoline. Both of these initiatives are endorsed by the Service Station Owners of America and the Illinois Gasoline Retailers Association, and will help consumers and small businesses break the grip of higher gas prices.

These free market reforms will bring competition back to the gasoline industry, and remove the artificial, anti-competitive business practices that allow big oil companies to overcharge us for gasoline.

In addition, I ask for your support in developing a commission, patterned after the Citizens Utilities Board, which will monitor gasoline prices and supplies on an ongoing basis. The FTC report report proved that oil companies manipulated supply in order to raise prices and profits. But an investigation that packs up and moves back to Washington when completed will not keep oil companies from manipulating supplies again. I believe this body should have the power to fine oil companies when intentional supply manipulation causes gasoline prices to rise to the current, unacceptably high levels.

I look forward to reading the findings of your investigation, and hope you will join me in fighting for a more open, competitive marketplace that keeps oil companies honest, and provides consumers with the lowest possible price for gasoline.

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