AG sees spike in complaints about gas prices

The Indiana Attorney General's Office says the recent surge in Midwestern gasoline prices that's given Indiana the nation's fourth-priciest gas is drawing an influx of complaints from the public.

The state agency said Friday that it's received 80 complaints about high gas prices this month, up from just 15 last month.

Indiana's average price for a gallon of regular unleaded was $4.12, behind Hawaii, Michigan and Illinois, and about 50 cents higher than the national average, the office said Friday.

In comparison, Indiana's average price of a gallon of unleaded regular was $3.59 between Jan. 1 and June 1, it said.

Tom Bodin, the office's chief economist, said he's determined that Indiana's recent spike is being fueled by production delays at seven of the Midwest's 10 largest refineries.

"These disruptions have trickled down to the retail level and Hoosiers are feeling the pinch at the pump," he said.

The seven refineries that have been either hit by technical problems or are conducting maintenance include the top three Midwestern refineries by output volume.

Although many of the refinery issues have been resolved or are being resolved, Bodin said it will likely take time before consumers see lower prices again.

Attorney General's Office spokeswoman Erin Reese said the office investigates gas prices in cases where it sees "an unusually high spike" in complaints about gas prices rising. She said the state agency continues to track the situation.

She said the office has determined that the situation does not involve price-gouging, but instead resulted from a tightening of gas supplies in the Midwest.

"When the high prices are all over you can see it's a broader problem, as opposed to having one station illegally price gouging," Reese said. "We've ruled that this is not one of those situations—this stems from seven of the 16 refineries experiencing problems."

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