Local News

High Gas Prices A Steal For Some

Posted March 30, 2004

— Gasoline prices have reached record levels and they could go even higher. The nationwide average in the last two weeks is $1.80 for all grades.

Paying at the pump is becoming a real pain in the wallet, but some drivers are now taking their frustrations to an extreme. They take off, or what is being called pump and run.

Jai Pal says in the last week, he has been ripped off at the pump for a total of $250.

"Every week something happens," he said.

In the Atlantic Avenue area of north Raleigh, drive-offs are happening almost daily. Several stores within a mile of each other have been hit several times in the last week.

Pal says it really does not matter what the prices are.

"It doesn't make a difference," he said. "If they want to take off they will take off whether the prices are up or down."

"When gas prices are up that's when we hear more about drive-offs, but it's a common practice that happens in many places," said Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison.

Harrison says there is little that law enforcement can do unless the store owners have a clear description of the driver and the car.

"What I suggest is that the owners be more aware of who's pumping. They should know as soon as they cut on that pump who's out there and to be able to see a license plate number," Harrison said.

Having a strict prepay policy would cut down on drive-offs, but many store owners are reluctant to do that because it would be an inconvenience to customers.

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