Are you angry about high fuel prices? Let’s rephrase that question – are you angry enough over high gas prices to file a lawsuit? Actually, we need to rephrase that one more time. Are you angry enough over low gas prices to file a lawsuit? Yes, you read that right. As you can probably guess, it’s not a disgruntled motorist behind this unlikely scenario.
This story comes from Waukesha, Wisconsin, a suburb of Milwaukee and home to Woodman’s Food Market. The store is part of a chain in the region that also has fuel stations, and apparently, some competing businesses in the neighborhood aren’t happy about getting beat on price. According to a report from WISN 12, BP and Shell stations nearby are allegedly suing Woodman’s for $80,000 each, citing a state law that says companies cannot sell goods below cost.
What is the cost exactly? A quick check on Gasbuddy.com shows Woodman’s selling regular gasoline for $3.59 as of the late afternoon on March 21. Other stations in the area are in the $3.75 to $3.99 range. The BP station is reportedly at $3.89 per gallon, while the Shell station across the road from Woodman’s is shown at $3.79 per gallon. It must be noted that Gasbuddy.com relies on reports from registered website users who post fuel prices with approximate times.
WISN 12 claims to have over 200 pages of court documents relating to this case. The news outlet also mentions new filings from Woodman’s alleging the company is in compliance with the law, citing a Costco store just over six miles away as its competition. Another quick check at Gasbuddy shows a Costco in Pewaukee with a reported price of $3.49 per gallon.
Apparently, the court case isn’t merely based on recent events. According to Newsweek, the lawsuit allegedly covers 40 days in which the plaintiffs say the price at Woodman’s has been too low. Newsweek also states that Woodman’s has filed against the suit, seeking a dismissal.
According to the latest information from the US Energy Information Administration, the national average for regular gasoline in the US is $4.31 per gallon. AAA reports a slightly lower number at $4.25 as of March 21. Meanwhile, oil prices have retreated from their previous highs but are trending upward yet again, with Brent crude up nearly 8 percent at $115.60. WTI crude is up just over half a percent at $112.80.