By TESA GLASS
MT. VERNON — —
After receiving numerous complaints from the public, the Mt. Vernon Police Department is in the process of monitoring gas prices throughout the city.
“Our department is tracking the gas prices for Mt. Vernon and surrounding cities,” MVPD Chief Chris Mendenall said. “We’re tracking them on a daily basis.”
Mendenall said his department has received an influx of complaints that gas prices in the city are much higher than surrounding communities such as Benton and Salem.
“Today,” Mendenall said on Tuesday, “the gas prices are 35 to 40 cents per gallon cheaper in some of our neighboring cities.”
Mendenall reported gas prices as $3.59 to $3.69 per gallon in Mt. Vernon on Tuesday while prices in Benton were at $3.46 per gallon and in Salem, prices were at $3.25 per gallon.
According to information from IllinoisGasPrices.com, the average retail gasoline prices in Illinois have fallen 16.3 cents per gallon over last week, and averaged $3.64 in the state on Monday. The national average was at $3.67 per gallon on Monday.
“Including the change in gas prices in Illinois during the past week, prices yesterday were 17.9 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 40.8 cents per gallon lower than a month ago,” IllinoisGasPrices.com stated. “The national average has decreased 14.2 cents per gallon during the lst month and stands 20.1 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.”
Mendenall said the information from gas monitoring in Mt. Vernon will be turned over the the Illinois Attorney General for further investigations and possible prosecution if price gouging is determined to have been committed.
According to Maura Possley, press secretary for Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office, the office has been given authority through a civil statute to investigate alleged gas price gouging in two instances — if a natural disaster happens in which the gasoline supply is disrupted, or if retailers collude to raise gas prices. After receiving information from law enforcement, the information is reviewed, Possley said.