Illinois independent fuel stations threaten to close in disasters

| 1/24/2006

The next time there’s a disaster, such as another Hurricane Katrina, finding fuel in Illinois may be difficult.

The head of the Illinois Petroleum Marketers Association told The St. Louis Post-Dispatch that, rather than face possible accusations of price gouging the next time there’s an emergency, members of his association may just consider closing altogether.

William Fleischli, executive vice president of the association, went on to say that, even though members of his association recently signed an agreement with the Illinois attorney general promising not to gouge in the future, those stations still claim they did nothing wrong in the wake of Katrina.

The Post-Dispatch reported that Fleischli said that gas station owners are worried they could be targeted again if a similar situation came along.

“What I’m afraid is going to happen is that, God forbid any catastrophe, I believe my members are going to think very seriously about closing their stores,” he said.

Fleischli said the station owners didn’t make any money during the hurricanes last fall, and that the only reason they stayed open was to service the public.