Phoenix Price Gouging Complaints Pouring In

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Phoenix Price Gouging Complaints Pouring In

08/27/2003
PHOENIX, Ariz. -- The gasoline pipeline from Tucson to Phoenix may be up and running again, but hundreds of Arizona motorists still are complaining about what they consider price gouging at the pumps.

Attorney General Terry Goddard says his office has received more than 600 complaints. The governor's office has received more than 1,200. As a result, Goddard's office is drafting an anti-gouging statute to present to the legislature, according to the Associated Press.

Phoenix gas stations were charging an average of $2.15 for regular unleaded gasoline Tuesday, the highest average price ever recorded in the city for a gallon of that grade, the American Automobile Association reported. Fuel prices climbed from an average of $2.10 the previous day.

Statewide, Arizona had the third highest average gas price in the nation at $2.01 a gallon on Tuesday, ranking behind California's $2.14 and Hawaii's $2.10.

Prices soared after a pipeline that supplies a third of the Phoenix area's gas ruptured on July 30 and was closed over safety concerns Aug. 8. A bypass to the disrupted Kinder Morgan Energy Partners pipeline opened on Sunday, partially restoring the flow from that line.

Aside from the pipeline disruption, refinery outages in California this summer have contributed to a short supply of gasoline in many areas of the West and pushed up prices.

Surging gas prices around the country also were attributed to the blackout two weeks ago in parts of the Northeast and Midwest. The failure shutdown operations at refineries and interrupted product deliveries.

Before the August gas shortage, Phoenix saw a large price jump in gas during the war with Iraq. Seven days after U.S. forces attacked Iraq, Phoenix gas prices reached an average of $2 per gallon of unleaded regular. The statewide average was $1.92 for March 27, a week after the war began.