Business / Economy

District Attorney’s office finds no fuel price fixing

An investigation was initiated following complaints that a Safeway employee said the pricing was due to a past litigation settlement that required Safeway to price fuel at the community average.

The San Benito County District Attorney’s Office announced its investigation found there was no price fixing or any other illegal activity regarding pricing of fuel by Hollister Safeway.

“Under California Law, specifically B&P Code §17043, a business is not allowed to sell products below cost, with the intent to injure competition, under B&P Code § 16720, a business may not enter into an agreement with any other person or business to establish a price of a good or service,” the news release said. “Our investigation revealed that neither code was violated.”

According to the release that was published March 16, the office conducted a consumer protection investigation following complaints in late November about an employee’s explanation about the fuel prices. The District Attorney’s Office said the employee had stated that the pricing was due to a past litigation settlement that required Safeway to price fuel at the community average.

According to the U.S Energy Information Administration, regular gasoline prices per gallon in November in California were as follows:

  • Week 1 (ending 11/7): $5.228
  • Week 2 (ending 11/14): $5.210
  • Week 3 (ending 11/21) $5.034
  • Week 4 (ending 11/28): $4.813

The release said during the investigation the District’s Office contacted multiple service stations in the area, including Safeway and found no agreements regarding pricing were made that precluded Safeway from any pricing choices permitted by law.  It added Safeway said it would remind its staff that the store is free to price their fuel products at any price permitted by law.

Noe Magaña

Noe Magaña is BenitoLink Co-Editor and Content Manager. He joined BenitoLink as reporter intern and was soon brought on staff as a BenitoLink reporter. He also experiments with videography and photography. He is a San Benito High School alumnus with a bachelor's in journalism from San Jose State and a Liberal Arts Associate's Degree from Gavilan College. Noe also attended San Jose City College and was the managing editor for the City College Times, the school's newspaper. He was a reporter and later a copy editor for San Jose State's Spartan Daily. He is a USC Center for Health Journalism 2020 California Fellow.