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Idaho's price gouging law may change

Idaho attorney general's office turns on security system
Posted at 4:44 PM, Feb 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-18 10:11:07-05

BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho Attorney General says new legislation would make it easier to price gouge consumers. The Idaho Petroleum Markets and Convenience Store Association sponsored the bill.

The bill would make Idaho's price gouging law applicable only when someone raises their prices in an emergency. When the price of oil dropped to record lows at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, most gas stations in Idaho only marginally dropped their prices at the pump.

Related: Idaho AG: Settlement reached in gas price investigation

The Attorney General says that allowed gas stations to make some big money at the expense of consumers who were struggling.

"Going from 10 cents to 60 cents a gallon struck the Attorney General as meaning the price was exorbitant," said Brett DeLange, Idaho Deputy Attorney General. "It shattered all records. The previous high was in 2008 and was 42 cents a gallon."

But station owners say they never increased their prices, so it cannot be price gouging even though their profit margin went up sixfold, according to the Attorney General.

Coming up Thursday, Idaho News 6 speaks with the owner of Stinker stations about why the law change is so important and you might be surprised how many other states don't limit price gouging to just increased prices.