Wisconsin Reinstates Gasoline Minimum-Price Law

MADISON, Wis. -- A federal judge from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the Wisconsin Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association and small c-store operators, recently ruling the state's 71-year-old minimum mark-up law for gasoline was not illegal price fixing, according to a report by area television station Channel 3000.

The ruling overturned a 2009 decision by a lower-court judge who ruled the minimum mark-up law violated the federal Sherman Antitrust Act, according to the report.

The lower court judge, Rudoloph Randa, estimated the law, which restricts how cheaply gasoline can be sold at retail, could artificially inflate prices by up to 30 cents per gallon, Channel 3000 reported. Smaller c-store operators said the price floor was needed to prevent larger chains from taking smaller profit margins to push mom-and-pop stores out.

Wisconsin consumer Mitch Schulter told Channel 3000 he was worried about the law's effect on street prices. "My daughter drives from Baraboo to Madison everyday and that's about 100 miles a day -- 500 miles a week," he said. "Over time that's going to add up and that's going to affect her and I'm sure it's gonna hurt a lot of other people that have to pay more for gas."

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