Saying he's no gouger, gas station owner offers refund

| 9/13/2001

A small station in Oklahoma City offered refunds to customers Wednesday after hiking gas prices to $5 a gallon in the wake of Tuesday's apparent terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. R & L Texaco also sells diesel, but it mainly services gas guzzlers.

The station is owned by Ralph Pfenninger and his son, Lewis. Reports of possible fuel shortages caused the reaction, Pfenninger said. "We were in a panic. Rumors were flying all over the TV and our suppliers called and said they were unsure when they could get us gasoline and that it would cost us $4 to $5 a gallon," Pfenninger told Reuters by telephone Wednesday, after bringing his self-serve regular price back to $1.649 per gallon. The station reported the diesel price was stable at $1.79.

Pfenninger and other retailers in the Midwest from Oklahoma to Michigan raised prices on Tuesday only to bring them back to normal on Wednesday.

Exxon Mobil Corp and Chevron Corp. on Tuesday said there was no gasoline shortage and froze wholesale prices to retailers.

The American Automobile Association said the statewide average for self-serve regular in Oklahoma on Tuesday was $1.548 a gallon.