Ky. Price Gouging Inquiry Ends

Eight retail gas stations will pay the state more than $100,000 to end a gas price-gouging investigation launched in the wake of Hurricane Ike last September, state Attorney General Jack Conway said.

Five of the stations are owned by Pilot Travel Centers LLC, which will pay $100,000 in the settlement. They are in Corbin, Williamsburg, Middlesboro, Franklin and Oak Grove. Krunal LLC, which owns the T-Mart in Franklin, has agreed to pay $5,000, and Mike and David No. 2 Inc., which owns the T-Mart in Wingo, will pay $2,500, according to the Lexington (Ky.) Herald Leader. Conway declined to identify the eighth station until the settlement is finalized, which he said is expected soon.

The stations denied any suggestion of wrongdoing. Pilot Travel Centers, based in Knoxville, said in a statement that prices at two of its stations never went past $4.29 a gallon and that the company diverted fuel to make sure Kentucky stations remained open.

"Pilot is proud of its reputation as a fuel retailer and employer in the state of Kentucky," the statement said. "It has served the Kentucky gasoline market for over 40 years. It is regretful that the state of Kentucky did not take a more holistic view of the circumstances."

Most of the settlement money will go into the state’s General Fund after his office is reimbursed $30,000 for investigative costs, the report said.

The investigation concentrated on stations that had high prices for at least six days, Conway said, adding that an investigation of wholesale gasoline prices in Louisville, Ky., which started last July, is ongoing.

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