A federal judge has ruled a 1939 state law that requires gas stations to mark-up wholesale prices by about 9-percent is unconstitutional. The ruling also orders the state to stop enforcing the law.
The decision was the result of a lawsuit filed by the Utah-based "Flying J" company, which operates several gas stations in the state. Supporters of the decision say it will increase competition in the state and could lead to lower prices.
However, Wisconsin Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association President Matt Hauser, says the decision could ultimately lead to less competition over time. He says the law protected smaller retailers from being driven out of business by large companies, who can afford to offer prices at below wholesale prices.
Hauser says the decision was surprising, because the law has stood up to recent legislative challenges. Lawmakers have attempted to overturn the law in recent sessions with little success. It has also faced court challenges before, but judges have sided with the law.
Hauser is hoping the state will take swift action to fight the ruling and will appeal the decision. The Department of Justice will review it, but has not said if the state will appeal.