Crist Looks to Repeal Gasoline Distribution Law

Charlie Crist claims it could lower near record prices, but others say it'll do just the opposite.

College student Tiara Warren says high gas prices mean one thing to her.

"I drive less than I would usually," Warren says.

State Attorney General Charlie Crist met with oil executives last week, but this week he has no news answers to the record prices.

"The only additional fallout from that meeting is trying to get Exxon /Mobile and Conoco/Phillips to answer our questions,” Crist reports, but in a letter to legislative leaders, Crist is floating the repeal OFA 1985 law. The law prohibits refiners like Murphy Oil from selling directly to the public.

"Only 11 other states evidently have this law. We believe that it is anti competitive rather than competitive. We want to make sure that consumers have the lowest available price for gas,” explains Crist.

Lawmakers turned down the same idea in 2001. The fear then was that refiners would sell below cost, and then jack prices up once competitors were forced out of business.

Florida has the third highest gas taxes in the nation, yet prices here are well below California. Distributors say that's because of competition from the current law that's on the books.

Charlie Rooney owns 11 stations and fears the change.

"Florida really has some of the lowest gas prices in the country and that's in large part thanks to a lot of small independent business people that are protected by the law,” explains Rooney.

California had a similar law until a decade ago. When it was repealed, independent gas stations started disappearing and prices started rising.

Gov. Jeb Bush says he will likely support the idea of repealing the gas law, but first he wants assurances that there is no evidence of price gouging.