Macomb Local News
A measure that passed out of an Illinois state Senate committee last week could lead to higher gas prices for consumers, according to some opponents of the bill.
 
Senate Bill 2480 would require certain safety training for employees at oil refineries operating in the state of Illinois.
 
“As we all know, once these plants have issues, if there’s fire, if there’s spills, it causes surrounding impacts on communities that are around these refineries,” state Sen. Michael Hastings, D-Tinley Park, said.
 
The measure also requires prevailing wage to be paid at privately funded refineries.
Illinois Petroleum Council’s Jim Watson said that will increase production costs.
 
State Sen. Jim Oberweis, R-Sugar Grove, said that translates into higher prices at the pump.
 
“Well, I think that’s self evident,” Oberweis said. “If you increase the cost of producing it, those who are producing it have to charge a higher price if they want to stay in business. The consumer is the one who pays for that, or to the degree that it’s the state [buying higher priced gasoline], it’s the taxpayers who pay for it.”
 
Added regulations, he said, won't help the state.
 
“This is just a typical, normal situation that this legislature is creating for a hostile business environment in Illinois,” Oberweis said. “I’m getting sick and tired of seeing businesses move because this legislature creates an anti-business environment in the state of Illinois.”
 
Illinois Association of Convenience Stores Executive Vice President Bill Fleischli also said if labor costs go up, the price of the product goes up.
 
Fleischli said people will shop around, including in neighboring states with lower gas taxes, for cheaper fuel. That doesn’t just mean consumers could go to another state for cheaper gas from convenience stores.
 
“[Convenience stores] have good food, we have good products, and people will buy other things and if you’re out of line with your main product they will go to other facilities to get other things,” Fleischli said.
 
The measure passed out of committee last week and awaits a full vote in the Senate.