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Craig McEwen, Published September 04 2009

Gas Stop closes in Moorhead

The cut-rate Moorhead gas station known for selling gas a couple of cents cheaper than competitors and also for once being charged with tampering with its gasoline has closed.

Gas Stop owner Louis Long, Rapid City, S.D., would not comment about the closing or confirm when the gas station and arcade opened at 903 Main Ave.

The Moorhead Public Service Department said electric service to the gas station was disconnected on Monday.

The four-pump station often sold gas for a couple of cents less per gallon than local competitors and was sometimes credited with starting local gas wars.

In November 1991, state petroleum officials in North Dakota and Minnesota suggested that Gas Stop may have broken state laws by selling gas for less than cost.

Art Wheeler, president of the North Dakota Petroleum Marketers Association, and Bob Krogman, executive director of the Northwest Petroleum Association, asked that legal action be taken against Gas Stop under Minnesota’s minimum markup law.

The Moorhead city attorney and Minnesota’s attorney general declined to get involved, according to a story printed in The Forum.

At the time, a gallon of unleaded gas was selling for $1.19 in Bismarck and $1.02 at Gas Stop.

Prices at other Fargo-Moorhead stations ranged from $1.02 to $1.06 per gallon. Wheeler said Gas Stop was responsible for the low prices and forcing other stations to drop their prices.

In 1994, Long and station manager Gerald Hanson were charged with one misdemeanor count of adulteration of gasoline for allegedly blending gasoline with products commonly known as casinghead gasoline, drip gasoline or natural gasoline, a low-octane liquid hydrocarbon.

The charge was dropped under a plea agreement. Long was fined $700 for failing to keep records in accordance with Minnesota state laws, according to Forum reports.

Readers can reach Forum Business Editor Craig McEwen at (701) 241-5502