Marathon Petroleum Settles Gas Price Gouging Challenge in Kentucky

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Marathon Petroleum Settles Gas Price Gouging Challenge in Kentucky

08/02/2019
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FINDLAY, Ohio — Marathon Petroleum Corp. (MPC) settled a 12-year-old lawsuit related to fuel price gouging claims at locations in Kentucky following Hurricane Katrina.

The $22.5-million settlement resolves the challenge with no admission of liability, wrongdoing or violation of the law, according to the company.

"Marathon Petroleum Corp. welcomes the resolution of the long-standing litigation with the Office of the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. [MPC] and Speedway dispute the allegations made against them by the attorney general's office and expressly deny any liability, wrongdoing or violation of the law," the company said in a statement on July 31. "With this resolution, and the attorney general's office acknowledgment of no admission of liability or wrongdoing, we welcome putting our differences behind us."

MPC and Attorney General Andy Beshear are recommending the settlement funds — after fees and costs — be appropriated for improving rural roads, navigable waterways, and/or emergency management to mitigate the impact of weather events.

According to Beshear's office, the settlement resolves claims that MPC and its retail arm, Speedway LLC, violated Kentucky's Consumer Protection Act by engaging in price gouging in the wholesale and retail sale of gasoline in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and that MPC engaged in wholesale price gouging following a 2011 flood event.

"This settlement was 12 years in the making and I am proud to finally see its conclusion," Beshear said. "Since taking office, I have worked to protect Kentuckians and I am pleased by the resolution in this matter."

Half of the agreed payment is due within 20 days of the settlement becoming effective with the remainder paid annually in two equal installments.

The attorney general's office, under then-Attorney General Greg Stumbo, filed the lawsuit in May 2007. Then-Attorney General Jack Conway's office amended the complaint in 2011. A trial in the case was set to begin in Franklin Circuit Court on August 19.

A separate lawsuit, filed in federal court in 2015, alleges MPC violated antitrust laws. That case is still pending, according to the attorney general's office.

Findlay-based MPC is a leading integrated downstream energy company, which operates the nation's largest refining system with more than 3 million barrels per day of crude oil capacity across 16 refineries. Its marketing system includes approximately 7,800 branded locations across the U.S., including approximately 5,600 Marathon-brand retail outlets. MPC is No. 3 on the 2019 Convenience Store News Top 100.

Enon-based Speedway LLC, an MPC subsidiary, owns and operates approximately 4,000 retail convenience stores across the United States.