Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden says there has been a settlement agreement reached with Maverik, Jacksons Food Stores and Stinkers Stores, Inc.
The settlement comes after an investigation that looked into these company’s gas prices during Idaho’s state of emergency back in March this year. Idaho law controls the sale of water, food, fuel and pharmaceuticals so companies can not sell these items at a higher price during such a state of emergency.
The settlement has $1.5 million in consumer redress in sales credit. Maverik and Jacksons will both allocate $600,000 in credits and Stinker Stores will allocate $300,000.
“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 fuel companies did not admit to doing anything illegally. Maverik, Jacksons and Stinker issued a joint statement regarding the settlement.
“…Even as we disagree with the premise of the Office of the Attorney General’s inquiry, we cannot ignore the community benefits our agreement will create,” the joint statement from the fuel companies said. “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.”
What the credits mean for Idahoans
The companies agree to earn their credits in one year starting in January 2021. The fuel companies will report their monthly margin (what they paid wholesale subtracting it from retail price) to the attorney general’s office. After the report, the attorney general office will get the average margin from the surrounding states.
“Let’s assume just hypothetically that the average margin is 20 cents a gallon. If one of the retailers then turns around and sells gas in Idaho at 10 cents per gallon margin, then they would be able to report a credit of 10 cents a gallon,” Chief, Office of the Attorney Generals Consumer Protection Division, Brett DeLange said. “So, they agree that they sell their gas at a margin below the multi-regional average margin. Then that’s how they will realize the credit.’
Essentially, the gas margins are compared monthly and the price could fluctuate up and down depending on the surrounding state’s margin. This means Idahoans could see gas prices lower than what they may normally be.
In the joint statement made by the fuel companies, they emphasized how this settlement will help them continue to benefit Idaho.
“The hundreds of convenience stores and gas stations in Idaho are a reliable source of employment for thousands of people,” the fuel companies said. “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.”