The Oregon Department of Justice has found that Valley View Shell, at Ashland's north Interstate 5 exit, has been charging significantly higher gas prices for full service than what is posted on their sign. The practice is legal but a high number of complaints in January led to the investigation. Jim Craven - Jim Craven

State reviews gas rules after Ashland complaints

The Oregon Department of Justice has found the Shell gas station at Ashland's Exit 19 is not breaking the law by charging drivers significantly more at its full-service gas pumps without a sign notifying customers about the extra cost.

But the department has decided to look at whether state rules about gas station signs are adequate.

"As we received several consumer complaints regarding the lack of clarity to consumers as to the actual price of gasoline, we will undertake a review of the current rules, which were adopted in 1985, to determine if there is a need for updating and revising these rules," Oregon Department of Justice Enforcement Officer Alicia Suarez explained in a letter.

The letter was sent out this month to consumers who have complained about the Shell gas station's long practice of charging more for gas at its full-service pumps while posting only the mini-service pump price on a large sign next to Valley View Road.

The price for gas at a full-service pump is listed on a small digital screen on the pump itself. The screen is smaller than a hand.

Under state law, gas stations can charge more for full-service but they only need to post the lowest cash price of each grade of gasoline on street signs. However, each pump has to show the price that will be charged based on whether the consumer is paying for full service or mini-service.

In January, an Ashland driver complained that she was charged about $10 extra after she got gas and had her windshield washed and oil checked at one of the Shell station's full-service gas pumps. She complained to an employee and received a refund of the extra fee. She then filed a complaint with the Department of Justice.

On Friday afternoon, the price for gas at a mini-service pump at the Shell station was listed on the station's large sign at $2.359 per gallon.

The price on the small digital screen on each full-service pump was $2.799, or 44 cents more per gallon.

— Ashland Daily Tidings

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