June 1, 2004 – Effective immediately, V.I. gasoline wholesalers, gas stations and marine fuel stations must request in writing and receive in writing from the Licensing and Consumer Affairs Department permission to increase gasoline or diesel fuel prices, LCA Commissioner Andrew Rutnik announced on Tuesday.
Any enterprise raising prices without following the procedures will be subject to fines of $200 a day, a release from the department stated.
Permission "will be granted without delay" for reasonable increases based on increases in the cost of acquiring fuel for resale, according to the release.
A business seeking permission to raise prices should submit in writing the amount of the proposed increase, the latest delivery date of fuel supplies and an invoice documenting the increased cost. Requests may be faxed to the department at 776-8303.
"A permitted increase does not preclude gas stations from petitioning the department for further increases in order to meet operating and other expenses," the release said. But such other increases also must have the written permission of the department.
Rutnik instituted a 30-day price freeze on April 1 but within a week made an exception on St. Croix after Hovensa, which supplies the island's retailers, raised its prices.
Fuel prices have risen sharply in recent months throughout the United States, and they are expected to continue rising with the start of the summer travel season. Pump prices below $2 a gallon for regular gas are little but a memory on the mainland these days.
Anyone wishing additional information about the LCA procedures is asked to call Rutnik's office on St. Thomas at 774-3130 or Alli Paul, director of consumer affairs services, on St. Croix at 773-2226.
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