Attorney General: Gas prices in Lea Co. are fair

LEA COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – People in southeast New Mexico have wondered for years why they pay higher gas prices than the rest of the state especially when so much oil and gasoline comes from their neck of the woods.

The attorney general just finished an investigation into that question to see if there’s any funny business going on.

The letter addressed to concerned citizens of Lea County from Attorney General Gary King says there’s no evidence of collusion being done by gas distributors in the area.

In the letter, the state does admit gas prices in Lea County are about six percent higher than the state average.

According to the report, there’s no proof that statistic is related to price-fixing.

“We know that something is causing gas prices to go up, but whether or not it’s collusion we again have no direct evidence of that,” said the Director of Communications for the Attorney General’s Office Phil Sisneros.

Russ Black spear headed the petition drive that convinced the attorney general to launch an investigation back in November.

“I would feel much better if they would have found out there was some evil doer in charge,” said Black.

Black said he and his community are disappointed by the state’s results.

“Every time you go to the pump you realize you have less money to buy things for your children,” he said.

In the letter, Kings said one of the main reasons people in Hobbs and Lovington pay more is a lack of competition.

He said unless discount gas stations move into the market residents might not see any change.

“I think that’s just one of the costs of living in that area,” said Sisneros.

Black said that’s not enough to stop him from putting up a fight.

“I’m going to continue to fight this until I can see some fairness,” said Black.

The report only looked for collusion.

One reason the prices are higher there is because the gasoline made near Artesia is sold and piped to Texas and other parts of New Mexico.

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