KY investigates possible gouging by Marathon

FRANKFORT (WAVE) - Marathon Petroleum is at the center of a suit filed by Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway alleging the gas company illegally hiked the wholesale price of gasoline during the state's devastating floods in April.

The next hearing is set for Thursday, May 19.

Conway is alleging that Marathon violated the state's price-gouging law.

"We believe that price may have been based on something else, such as future markets, things like that," says AG Spokeswoman Allison Martin. "They can do that, but not during a declared state of emergency when the price gouging statute has been triggered."

On Monday, Marathon officials called Conway's investigation political theater.

The motion for a temporary injunction was filed Friday in a case against Marathon in Franklin Circuit Court that dates back to price-gouging allegations from 2005. The motion asks Marathon to lower its wholesale prices to the amount they were on April 25, when Gov. Steve Beshear issued a state of emergency due to flooding in Kentucky.

Conway says gas prices jumped 30 cents overnight in some areas in late April.

"You know, it may be a matter of cents, really, " says Martin,"but when you're talking about 4 million people in the Commonwealth of Kentucky who are paying two or three cents more a gallon, that's a lot of money."

Marathon spokeswoman Angelia Graves in Findlay, Ohio, says the company has been "singled out for litigation" just before an election in which Conway is running. Graves' statement says the company will vigorously fight the allegations, which she says are without merit.

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