Finally! Motorists (myself included) disgusted with misleading street prices for gasoline, have won. At least in Michigan. Governor Rick Snyder signed into law
Michigan House Bill 5596 to protect motorists from misleading gasoline pricing.
It's a topic I've long talked about, but dropped after moving out of Michigan. I had been in touch with the Michigan Department of Weights and Measures, urging them to make illegal the practice of tiny fonts depicting a lower gas price with additional purchase (car wash, milk, etc.) Some gas stations across Michigan will likely need to modify their price signs so that approaching motorists can see that the price displayed first is actually with a car wash, which as of now, is in tiny font- barely visible.
Long enough have a small portion of stations tried to trick motorists into believing their price was much lower, only for motorists to realize an additional purchase was necessary. Some stations highlighted the car wash, or did make it obvious, while other stations did not make such obvious. Even the
Better Business Bureau got involved, saying
Driver's often don't have time to carefully examine gas-price signs for tricks and catches before they take an exit. Sometimes, the text is simply too small to read from the road.
The new Michigan law requires gas station owners to post conditions, such as the need to purchase a car wash or use cash, immediately next to the sale price. The difference here is that the conditions must be in the same lettering and at least half the font size of the sale price.
We know that nationwide, consumers want greater transparency in terms of what they pay for any consumer product, and certainly for gasoline," said our Petroleum Analyst Gregg Laskoski. "People are very frustrated when they see an advertised price on a sign on the road, and they pull into the pump and they find out there’s all kinds of stipulations."
Motorists have long told GasBuddy of such tricks at a small percentage of stations, and we believe all stations should be held to the same standard.
Now we can point to Michigan, leading the nation in protecting motorists from such behavior, and hope that other states realize a level playing field is the best. I'll continue to work with lawmakers, as possible, to make sure other states have similar laws where possible.