Gas Prices

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

House Speaker Pro Tem Demetrius Newton remembers the day when "gas wars" were common in Alabama, with gas stations lowering their prices in an effort to lure in customers.

The Birmingham legislator introduced a bill in the House yesterday that could return Alabama to the days of "gas wars." Newton's bill would repeal the Alabama Motor Fuel Marketing Act, a 1984 law that made it illegal for stations to sell gasoline below the store owner's cost.

The bill was seen at the time as a way to protect small gas stations from larger stations that could afford to sell gasoline for a loss.

But two organizations plan to fight Newton's proposal, the Petroleum and Convenience Marketers of Alabama is a trade group representing petroleum marketers and convenience store operators in Alabama.

A spokesman said allowing gasoline to be sold at any price would give an advantage to large retailers, like Wal-Mart, that can sell gas for any price.

Newton said he decided to sponsor the bill after receiving a letter from Federal Trade Commission officials, who said the act restricts competition in Alabama.

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