Michigan attorney general asked to investigate Fowlerville’s high gas prices

The Michigan Attorney General’s office has been asked to investigate the exorbitantly high gas prices in Fowlerville, and the fact that the four gas stations at the I-96 interchange always charge the exact same high price.

The person who asked for the investigation? Me.

I filed a formal complaint today, and asked the attorney general’s office to investigate. It’s very easy to file a formal complaint about gas-price fixing and collusion, and if you’d like to file your own complaint about the high gas prices in Fowlerville, just click here.

The attorney general’s office says it will respond to my inquiry “as soon as possible.” I shall keep you all posted.

I decided to file the complaint after we posted a photo of the Fowlerville and Howell gas prices on the Livingston Post’s Facebook page over the weekend. he caption said simply, “Anyone else tired of this?

At last count, that photo had 93 comments and 417 shares. It seems a lot of people are tired of this.

A lot of the comments just said things like, “If you don’t like the prices then don’t buy gas there,” which duh, but it’s flat-out wrong that people who live in Fowlerville should have to drive to Howell or somewhere else simply to avoid getting ripped off at the gas pump. For low-income people, it’s a killer to put another 12 miles on the car just to fill up your tank.

It also seemed like a lot of people on the Facebook post were crying out for somebody, anybody, to do something about it. So I decided to take the first step, and now I’m asking the attorney general’s office to take the second step.

On behalf of everyone in Fowlerville, we’re fed up. PLEASE investigate this!

If you live, work or spend any time in Fowlerville, you know about the situation with gas prices there. The four stations located on Grand Avenue/Fowlerville Road, at the I-96 interchange, always charge the exact same price (I believe that’s called “collusion”), and they’re always 20-60 cents higher than nearby Howell (I believe that’s called “gouging”).

The formal complaint that was filed with the Michigan Attorney General’s office.

It’s important to note that it’s only the four Fowlerville stations at I-96 that are at fault. Randy’s Service, located about four miles south on Fowlerville Road, always has reasonable gas prices.

Whether it’s illegal or not, I’m asking the attorney general to determine. On its website, this is what the Federal Trade Commission has to say on the matter: “If there is evidence that the gasoline station operators talked to each other about increasing prices and agreed on a common pricing plan, that may be an antitrust violation.”

So, we’ll see.

As of this writing on Monday afternoon, the average price of regular gas in Michigan was $2.60 a gallon. The four gas stations in Fowlerville, meanwhile, were all charging $3.09 a gallon.

I hunted around on the GasBuddy website, and I could only find one other gas station in the entire state – in some remote town in the Upper Peninsula – that was charging more.

So Fowlerville’s four gas stations aren’t just the highest in this area. They’re the highest in the entire state. And it’s not just ONE Fowlerville station; it’s ALL FOUR.

And when you study it, there doesn’t seem to be any rational argument as to why Fowlerville’s gas prices have to be so high.

I’ve heard the explanation that Fowlerville is at the end of the route for gas-delivery trucks, and therefore they have to pay a lot more, but that’s obviously not true.

You can pick any remote location you want in Michigan, and they all have cheaper gas than Fowlerville. At the tip of the Thumb, in Port Austin, gas is $2.66 a gallon. At the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula in the U.P., as far north as you can get in Michigan, gas is $2.75 a gallon.

So you’re trying to tell me that there’s some rational explanation as to why Fowlerville has to charge $3.09?

Fowlerville is located right on one of Michigan’s major highways (I-96). It’s located smack dab in the middle of some of the state’s biggest population centers (Detroit, Flint, Ann Arbor and Lansing). You’re trying to tell me there’s some reason gas has to be 49 cents a gallon higher than the state average?

This sure looks like collusion and price gouging.

The time of complaining has come and gone. It’s time for the attorney general to take action.

In case you’re wondering, my Complaint Identification Number is 2018-cp11121351507-A. I’ll keep you posted.

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