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DULUTH, Minn. -- A new Minnesota law aimed at helping gas stations fight drive-offs goes into effect today. Gas stations can now pay associations such as the Minnesota Petroleum Marketers Association (MPMA), which proposed the law, to get money back for them, according to a WDIO.com report.
"I can understand people's position on how much gas is nowadays, but I still think they should be punished," local resident Mike Bergum told the news outlet.
Additionally, on a criminal level, the law allows judges and juries to infer that a driver who leaves a gas station without paying has done so intentionally, rather than accidentally.
"Just because someone left a station without paying for gas, we couldn't make an inference that they were intending to take it," said Mary Asmus, Assistant City Attorney for Duluth. "I think we're getting more and more cases as the economy has worsened, we've seen the number of gas drive-off cases increase last couple of years."
Asmus added that the law will focus on helping smaller stations with the process of getting their money back, according to the report.
"And that helps small gas stations that aren't affiliated with chains to be able to have the resources to actually do something about it," she said.