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The Skanner It's Easy
By The Skanner News
Published: 10 May 2006

A new Web site, called the"Gas Price Reporter," will enable Oregonians to report evidence that suggests unlawful conduct in gasoline pricing.

The Web site also provides information on how gas prices are set and regulated, links to conservation strategies and information about tax credits for projects that reduce energy use in transportation. It invites Oregonians to help detect unlawful conspiracies in gasoline pricing.

"The Gas Price Reporter is a simple and easy way for Oregonians to participate in the difficult work of distinguishing between high but lawfully established gas prices and unlawful price-fixing conspiracies," said Hardy Myers, Oregon Attorney General.

"Although the high price of gasoline does not in itself establish any violation of law, it is unlawful for competitors to conspire to fix the price of gasoline."

The Web site can be reached through http://governor.oregon.gov and through www. doj.state.or.us.

Oregonians can also take advantage of education programs and tax credits, such as:

• "Drive Less. Save More:" a Metro-sponsored campaign that shows drivers how to reduce fuel consumption through shortening travel distances and driving "smart." Visit www.metro-region.org/article.cfm?articleid=17397n for more information.

• Business Energy Tax Credit: Businesses can obtain reimbursement for investments in transit passes, carpooling, vanpooling and telecommuting. More than 300 businesses in Oregon have invested nearly $18 million in these efforts, reducing more than 316 million vehicle miles.

• Hybrid Vehicle Tax Credit: Any buyer of a hybrid vehicle for personal use may take advantage of the state's tax credit of $1,500, in addition to the federal government tax credit, which ranges from $650 to $3,150. The Oregon Department of Energy offers more information on business and residential energy tax credits at www.oregon.gov/ energy.

Gov. Ted Kulongoski also urged the next session of the Legislature to pass an anti-price gouging law as part of Oregon's overall effort to achieve energy independence and cope with skyrocketing prices at the pump.

"Oregon must not remain in that minority of states that lack gasoline price-gouging laws," Kulongoski said.

Myers sought last session to persuade the Legislature to enact a law allowing officials to limit price increases for critically important commodities in an emergency. The proposal, which failed, would have allowed the governor to declare that a market for critically important goods and services had been disrupted by a natural disaster, terrorism or sabotage.

However, the proposal would not have authorized the governor to take action to limit prices in today's market circumstances.

Kulongoski will propose a biofuels package to the Legislature in 2007. The package would create market demand for biofuels and create new incentives for building ethanol and biodiesel facilities in Oregon. It also would provide for growing the feedstock needed to create the fuels.

"During the third quarter of last year, the state saved about $37,000 in fuel costs, just by using alternative fuels," the governor said. "We can make this savings grow, while making the air cleaner and fighting global warming."

Nearly one-quarter of the state's motor vehicle fleet — 800 vehicles — is either hybrid or runs on biodiesel fuel or ethanol.

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