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Consumer News Release

For immediate release -- Monday, June 26, 2000.

Statement of Attorney General Tom Miller: Attorney General Investigating Gas Price Increases

The Attorney General's Office is investigating the extraordinary increases in gas prices we've seen in Iowa as well as around the nation. For some time now we have informally been investigating gas prices, examining explanations for the price increases and consulting with other state and federal officials about the issue, especially the Federal Trade Commission. Today we are formalizing this activity into an investigation. We will use the powers and resources of our office to investigate soaring gas prices that are causing serious harm to Iowa consumers.

We will look at how Iowa prices are affected by factors at the regional and national levels, including whether there is illegal collusion in gasoline pricing.

We already are working with the Federal Trade Commission, which has announced an investigation on the national level. We especially will explore why prices are higher in the Midwest, and why the price for reformulated gas in the Chicago and Milwaukee areas is so extraordinarily high.

We also have authority to investigate if there are any signs of illegal collusion on gas prices in local Iowa markets. We do not at this time think this is a significant cause of the extraordinary price increases here, but it is something we have taken action on in the past and will do again if there is any evidence of gas price-fixing in Iowa. As always, we welcome tips from anyone in the industry who may have information about gas price-fixing activity.

I also support the call by Iowa Members of Congress for Congressional committees to subpoena top oil company executives to explain their price increases and extraordinary profit levels.

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