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More gas stations subpoenaed in price-gouging probe

Posted September 17, 2008

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— A Fayetteville gas station was among 10 whose records the state Attorney General's office subpoenaed Wednesday in its investigation of possible price-gouging last week in advance of Hurricane Ike.

The subpoenas were the second wave of document requests sent to gas stations across the state this week as authorities try to determine whether dealers could justify price spikes at the pump last week.

Last Thursday, the average gasoline price statewide was $3.67 a gallon, and it was $3.68 in the Triangle. By Monday, gas prices had hit record highs, with a statewide average of $4.085 and a Triangle average of $4.05.

The price spike came amid fears that Ike would cripple U.S. refining capacity along the Texas Gulf Coast, where plants produce about one-quarter of the nation's daily fuel needs. People rushed to fill their tanks Friday, fearing stations would run out of gas, and thousands called state officials to complain about rapid price increases.

Attorney General Roy Cooper subpoenaed records Monday from the owners of 14 stations that charged at least $5.50 a gallon for regular gas. The nine subpoenas issued Wednesday included one for the Circle B station on South McPherson Church Road in Fayetteville, which charged $5.49 a gallon Friday.

The other stations subpoenaed Wednesday were in Asheville, Greensboro, New Bern, Old Fort, Statesville, Troy and Winston-Salem.

Companies face a civil penalty of up to $5,000 for each violation of the state price-gouging law.

Cooper said high gas prices don't necessarily equate to price-gouging, noting that a station's wholesaler could be charging higher prices.

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  • familyfour Sep 18, 2008

    I am still waiting for DIESEL fuel to be mentioned. Why didn't diesel fuel increase like gasoline did? In our area, the diesel prices NEVER budged. During the gouging streak, gallons were limited, but the price never changed. Go figure.

  • whatusay Sep 18, 2008

    Well Mr Attorney General, if the wholesaler is charging higher prices for the gasoline will the wholesaler be fined? Sounds like there is a loop-hole in your subpoena theory, or just a publicity statement. Gouging is gouging... everyone knows regular gas does not cost $5.50/gal. Fine the one's who are responsible, whether the gas wholesaler, or the store.

  • IzzMad2016 Sep 18, 2008

    "We only flush the potty when we doodle"

    Makes me think of the line in Meet The Parents 2 -- If it's yellow, let it mellow. If it's brown, flush it down.

    These days I guess we need to save a few cents whenever and wherever we can!

  • CaryCrazzy Sep 18, 2008

    "We only flush the potty when we doodle" LOL, It just sounds so funny. Thats a way to put "Doodle" lol

  • FromClayton Sep 18, 2008

    "Companies face a civil penalty of up to $5,000 for each violation of the state price-gouging law."

    Thats great, but at $1.00 extra per gallon, if you sell 5,001 gallons you have still made a profit. I wonder how much gas those stations sold? It might be worth the penalty...

  • Adelinthe Sep 18, 2008

    kcfoxie - "Rev. RB - why didn't you buy a diesel vehicle that gets 40/50 MPG? The new ones don't even smell like sulfur anymore, and get a $1300 credit. 600 miles to a tank, you can go a month without filling it up if you don't drive but to and from work and average 12,000mi/year."

    Because we run a non-profit ministry and a non-profit rescue farm, we don't have any money for new vehicles.

    My brother and I share a 2003 Dodge Neon that gets good gas mileage. We drive to and from work only, stopping for groceries, gas or farm supplies at establishments along the way.

    We live in 3 rooms of a 7 room trailer on a farm so we can rescue unwanted animals. We shut off the other rooms to save on the power that would be needed to heat or cool them.

    We only flush the potty when we doodle, and can't think of any other ways to economize.

    How 'bout you?

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • ncguy Sep 18, 2008

    while the AG is at it should he not supena(sp) the governor for price gouging citizens of NC?

  • ncguy Sep 18, 2008

    Anything over 4 bucks a gallon should be scrutinized!

  • Adelinthe Sep 18, 2008

    "If I owned a gas station and was going to, or might, run out of gas to sell; I'd still have to pay overhead the following day but without any revenue. I would raise prices to a level that allowed me enough revenue to cover expenses."

    Uhhh, you would have made enough revenue when the "run" was on to cover expenses while you were out.

    After all, 5 gallons of gas is 5 gallons of gas regardless of when it's pumped.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • Space Mountain Sep 18, 2008

    You ever notice how stations near each other all have the same price? I thought competition was supposed to lower prices. They would be smart to get together and just all agree on the same price. We couldn't do a thing about it.

    And the station near me went up just 10 cents last weekend to $3.79, but now it is up to $3.99.

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