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Michigan passes new law to protect motorists from misleading gas prices

NILES, Mich. --- We've all seen them, gas prices that are a little too good to be true! You think you are getting a great deal on gas, but then you find out you have to buy a car wash or pay with cash in order to get the cheaper price.

Well, that has changed for Michigan drivers. A new law, passed last month, changed how gas stations must advertise its gas prices.

ABC 57 drove up SR 933, all the way to Niles, looking for 'gas gimmicks'. One of the first gas station passed had regular, unleaded gas 20 cents cheaper with the purchase of a car wash. The Phillips 66 is in Indiana, not Michigan, so its sign can stay. That is not the case with Michigan gas stations. They will have to make some changes to their signs, if they have not already.

"It does catch your eye, you think the cost of the gas is a little less than it really is," said Jeff Mateer. 

"I've always seen signs like that and if I see a low price, I assume there is some catch to it," said Stuart Schisgall. 

Drivers say they are used to the gas station 'gimmicks'. ABC 57 hit the road to find some unbeatable deals.

Within in minutes, a Phillips 66 gas station in South Bend advertised regular, unleaded gas at 3.63 per gallon. Take a closer look  and you see the tiny print next to the price that reads, "with car wash purchase". 

"If I was driving right now, what is it 30 miles an hour right here, I would not be able to see that sign or even read it clearly," said Schisgall. "It could be deceiving if you have no idea, but i just assume there is always a catch". 

Michigan drivers will not have to worry about that much longer. A bill passed last month now makes it illegal for gas stations to display misleading signs. Gas stations have a year to comply. They must show any sell conditions next to the price and it must be at least half the size of the sale price font. Both the sell conditions and the gas price must be lit the same and have the same font style.

State Rep. Shannon Tyler from Berrien County helped draft the new legislation. With rising gas prices and a struggling economy, similar proposals are already starting to pop up in other states.

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