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September 14, 2001

Ryan Orders Gas Station Inspections After Reports of High Prices

CHICAGO -- Governor George H. Ryan today ordered the first wave of state inspections at service stations throughout Illinois to investigate reports of high gasoline pump prices.

Inspectors from the state Department of Agriculture were dispatched to gas stations in three counties in Western Illinois following an inordinate number of complaints about high pump prices in the area. The inspectors will visit stations in Mercer, Rock Island and Henry counties.

Unannounced inspections by state officials will continue to occur throughout the state in a direct response to complaints received from consumers. The department's inspection force will be on duty seven days a week in all parts of Illinois.

"I will not tolerate any situation where the people of Illinois are being taken advantage of in a time of national emergency," Ryan said. "We have received more than 4,000 communications - telephone calls and e-mails - about gas prices that rise swiftly or irregularities at service stations. Until further notice, we are going to investigate these reports quickly and maintain a very watchful eye on gas stations throughout the state."

Seventeen inspectors from Agriculture's division of weights and measures are conducting full site visits at service stations in the three counties, inspections that include checking the accuracy of pumps and computers, as well as comparisons between advertised pump prices and actual pump prices.

The results of the investigations will be quickly analyzed for follow-up actions, which could include administration sanctions or a referral to the Office of the Attorney General for consumer fraud.

Mercer, Rock Island and Henry counties were identified for the first wave of inspections after an analysis of hotline communications indicated a high number of complaints from communities like Aledo, Keithsburg, East Moline, Galva, Kewanee, Osco, Orion and Rock Island.

To register a complaint or comment about high gasoline pump prices, call the state's special consumer hotline at 800-247-5010.


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