Gas prices are at an all-time high in Florida, and state Attorney General Charlie Crist wants to know why. Crist called a meeting today with representatives of six major oil companies and state attorney generals across the country.
Even gas station operators are hoping the state gets to the bottom of it. Gas prices are up 19 cents a gallon from a month ago and 56 cents higher than this time last year. Even the folks who sell the gas are frustrated.
Frank West at BP says the higher the prices; the harder it is to turn a profit. As of right now, even on our regular, we make about 6 cents a gallon Attorney General Charlie Crist wants to make sure these price hikes are justified. Crist says he's concerned the major oil companies might be using a possible war as an excuse to hike prices
Crist called BP, Conoco-Phillips, Hess, Marathon, Chevron-Texaco and Exxon Mobile to Tallahassee to explain what's up. The executives wouldn't talk to reporters before the meeting, but the industry has consistently blamed uncertainty about war, a strike in Venezuela, and cold weather up north for the high price of crude oil.
We asked Crist if he wants the companies to bring down their prices.
“Certainly that would be a suggestion we would make but the reason we're meeting with them is to really get some information about why the price is higher than it's ever been in Florida,” Crist says.
Crist's office says he wants evidence that supply has dropped to the point where higher prices are justified, or, at least a reasonable explanation. If there's any evidence companies are conspiring together to keep prices up, there could be state or federal charges.
Attorney General Crist also invited attorneys general from 17 states to the meeting, including California and Texas. Representatives from seven states attended by conference call, and Mississippi and Georgia sent lawyers from their offices.
Crist has also asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether gas stations have been artificially inflating prices.