Proos: Keeping an eye on gas prices as BP refinery returns to full capacity

LANSING, Mich. — Southwest Michigan families should start seeing lower gas prices now that BP’s Whiting, Indiana refinery is returning to full service, said Sen. John Proos, who also encouraged Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette to continue to look into the situation.

“It is great news to hear that gas prices in Southwest Michigan should come down as the popular Labor Day travel weekend approaches and Michigan children get ready to return to school,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “I am continuing to keep a close eye on the breakdown, which two weeks ago caused a surge in gas prices — a jump that reportedly was the largest weekly increase for Midwest gasoline prices since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

“I am also encouraging Attorney General Schuette to continue putting the gas industry on notice about prices and reaching out for more information.”

BP said Tuesday that it has safely restarted a large crude distillation unit at its Whiting refinery that had been shut down since Aug. 8. GasBuddy.com expects gasoline prices in Michigan and neighboring states to drop by up to 50 cents per gallon during the next two weeks.

“I am frustrated that hardworking Michigan families were forced to pay more when filling up the car due to a manufacturing failure at a single plant in another state,” Proos said. “As facilities get back up and running, I will be watching closely to see whether the price drops as fast as it went up two weeks ago.”

If consumers become aware of direct evidence concerning a conspiracy between companies, or have verifiable evidence of a retailer charging a price grossly in excess of the price at which similar property or services are sold, they are encouraged to contact the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-877-765-8388 or file an online complaint at www.michigan.gov/ag.

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Editor’s note: Audio comments by Proos will be available on the senator’s website at www.SenatorJohnProos.com. Click on “Audio” under the Media Center tab.