Is Selling Gas Too Cheap Really Illegal in Minnesota?
Say what? You can get taken to court for selling gasoline for too CHEAP a price in Minnesota?
The price of gasoline is through the roof right now, pretty much wherever you go. Triple-A says we're paying an average of $4.66 a gallon right now here in Minnesota, still less than the national average of $4.91 a gallon-- but still painful, right?
Over in my home state of Wisconsin, it's a similar story, but a little worse. The average price for a gallon of unleaded over in America's Dairyland right now is $4.89. So, any way you can save even a few cents per gallon can really add up.
However, if you're a retailer, like a gas station, for example, don't price your gas too cheaply, or you could be facing a lawsuit. What? Do you mean there's a law on the books that regulates how cheaply you can sell a gallon of gas?
You betcha there is. Here in Minnesota, it's Minnesota statute 325D.71. It governs 'Unlawful Gasoline Sales' and prohibits "Any offer for sale of gasoline by a retailer by way of the posted price or indicating meter that is below cost."
It was passed to protect local mom-and-pop businesses from being forced out of business by larger conglomerates who could lower their prices just to force smaller companies to go out of business. And the Minnesota Department of Commerce even has an online form you can fill out if you suspect a gas station is, in fact, selling gas too cheap.
Which is what happened over in Wisconsin. A gas station in Waukesha (just outside Milwaukee, about 4 hours southeast of Rochester) was sued earlier this spring by two competitors. This WISN-TV story reported that the Woodman's Food Market was sued by a Shell and BP station for allegedly selling gas at too cheap a price. Woodman's, meanwhile, says its prices were legal, as they were competing with a nearby Costco which was selling gas to its members at a cheaper price.
The story indicated those lawsuits are still pending, so we don't know how they'll turn out just yet. But it's kind of weird to think that there's a law on the books that prohibits a gas station from selling gasoline too cheaply, isn't it?
Meanwhile, while we're all paying record prices at the pump, do you remember what the price of gas was when you first started driving? Keep scrolling to check it out!