- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 13, 2001

Several gas stations nationwide began lowering prices yesterday, a day after attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, as state and federal officials threatened action against gougers.
At several locations, gas stations jacked up prices on Tuesday, and motorists fearful of shortages scuffled in long lines at the pumps in the hours after the attacks.
That was the case at the R and L Texaco in Oklahoma City, where an owner bumped up prices after a supplier told him it was not clear when the next shipment would be available and at what price.
The owner later apologized to consumers and offered refunds, but not before catching the attention of authorities in Oklahoma, where an investigation into price-gouging was promptly started.
Locally, things were calmer.
"Whatever price spikes might have occurred were isolated situations that now appear to have corrected themselves," said Justin McNaull, spokesman for AAA in the region. "We've seen prices hold pretty much for the last two weeks in the $1.45 range."
At the Super Pumper Amoco station in Devils Lake, N.D., the price of a gallon of regular unleaded shot up to $3.29; Prices climbed to $4 from $1.68 earlier in the day at Casey's General Store in Galesburg, Ill.
In California, gas wholesalers raised prices by as much as 20 cents a gallon. A spokesman for the AAA Hoosier Motor Club in Indiana said his office has received reports of prices rising to $3 and $4 a gallon in parts of Indiana.
Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham issued a statement yesterday urging "consumers who encounter such unjustified prices to seek other stations and bring it to our attention."
Mr. Abraham added that "there's been no supply disruption to justify such prices." He said at a news conference that EPA Administrator Christie Whitman had told him she has immediately ordered summer gasoline standards lifted to help assure adequate fuel supplies.
The standards, imposed to ease air-pollution problems during the summer, had been scheduled to expire on Saturday.
Concern about supply disruptions had sent crude-oil prices higher Tuesday. OPEC, however, said yesterday that it was committed to maintaining supply levels. Prices of Brent North Sea crude fell to close at $27.79 a barrel in London yesterday, after spiking to $31 during trading the day before.
Exxon Mobil and BP, the nation's two largest oil companies, told traders yesterday that supplies would not be hampered, except around New York City. The companies urged consumers not to stockpile gasoline.
Equilon Enterprises LLC, parent to Shell and Texaco Inc., said it kept its prices unchanged and urged its "independent dealers and wholesalers to exercise restraint in their pricing decisions."
At the Cherry Hill Shell station in Beltsville, prices were actually lower in the past two days than at other regional Shell stations.
"Shell went up 2 cents, 1 every day, but we're still the same" at $1.44 per gallon of regular unleaded gas, said Sam Ghneim, co-owner at the station.
"We had an increase yesterday of 1 cent, but not because of what happened," said Abye Acpatke, worker at Distad's Amoco on Eighth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue SE, where prices yesterday went up to $1.55 per gallon of unleaded regular gas.


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