Concerns Over Price Gouging As Gas Prices Soar

Price Gouging: What Is It?

GREENSBORO, NC -- In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, gas prices are soaring everywhere and drivers in the Triad are feeling the effects, just in time for the Labor Day weekend.

In some places, gas prices went up by 30 cents (from $2.29 to $2.59 per gallon) in just the last week.

“It’s expensive,” said Johnny Slade. “It’s really expensive.”

On Friday, Slade filled up his red gas cans to stock up for the weekend.

He runs a lawnmowing company out of his truck.

So he's constantly having to fill up his equipment.

Slade says it costs him about $100 each time he visits the pump and it's starting to cut in to his profits.

“It hurts. I feel it,” said Slade. “I try not to pass it on to my customers because I already have everything set where I want it. I eat it really. That's what happens.”

Drivers like Tim Williams are also concerned about their wallet.

“It kind of makes me mad a little bit,” said Williams. “I wanted to go out of town this weekend. It's the last holiday with school starting and winter coming up and fall. I was looking forward to seeing my grandmother but you are pumping almost three dollars a gallon, it makes it kind of hard to travel.”

As the prices at the pump continue to rise, many people’s concern shifts to price gouging.

The price gouging law that protects consumers from scammers is now in effect in all 100 North Carolina counties due to the Governor’s declaration of abnormal market disruption due to the temporary Hurricane Harvey resulting in the temporary shutdown of Texas and Louisiana fuel refineries.

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein says his office has already received 120 complaints about price gouging in North Carolina since Hurricane Harvey.

“We will not abide price gouging,” said Stein. “If any company is engaging in price gouging, we want to know about it. We want to hold them accountable.”

Stein says there is no set price or percentage that constitutes price gouging.

His office investigates how much the gas companies paid for its supply and the rate at which they sell it back to the public.

“Right now, with some gas stations, they may be experiencing some slightly higher costs to buy the gas than before the hurricane in Texas. So it's legitimate that they charge a little bit more if it cost them more,” said Stein. “But if they have all of their supply at the same price they always got it and they raise their price $.50 or a dollar or something, that's unreasonable. That's against the law.

Attorney General Stein and the North Carolina Department of Justice will be reviewing complaints from consumers closely over the next several weeks and are prepared to take action against any gas stations engaging in price gouging activities.

You can report potential price gouging by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or file a complaint online by visiting the NCDOJ website

Experts don’t expected to have a true gas shortage in the Triad.

Colonial Pipeline is expected to start sending gasoline to the southeast again on Sunday.

In the meantime, Governor Cooper has lifted restrictions on truck drivers' hours so they can deliver gas quicker and easier.

© 2017 WFMY-TV


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