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Lawmakers consider renewing gas price law

By Randall Jeppesen | Posted - Nov. 30, 2011 at 8:15 a.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY -- A Utah law that puts minimum limits on gas prices will expire in 2012 unless lawmakers decide to renew it.

The law, which has been in place since 1981, says a gas station cannot sell gasoline at a price lower than what they paid for the fuel from their wholesaler. The measure is meant to prevent large companies from selling gas cheap, taking a loss, and driving local stores out of business in the process.

The latest version of the Motor Fuel Marketing Act will expire at the end of next year if the legislature doesn't act to extend it.

#poll

Lawmakers heard differing opinions during an interim committee meeting in September. Many local gas station owners said they are worried about being driven out of business if the law expires. They predict that would ultimately lead to higher gas prices.

But some lawmakers questioned that theory, saying most states don't have this type of law and they don't see widespread problems of predatory pricing.

Those who spoke against the law say it is unnecessary government regulation and stores should be able to decide how to price the fuel they sell.

Lawmakers will take another look at the fuel act in the upcoming legislative session.

E-mail: rjeppesen@ksl.com

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Randall Jeppesen

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