Local News

Gas stations settle state price-gouging complaint

Posted October 23, 2009 1:39 p.m. EDT

— Three gas stations have agreed to pay $15,500 total to settle price-gouging allegations following Hurricane Ike last fall, officials said Friday.

LR&S, Inc. will pay $7,700 for alleged price gouging by its Four Sister Center and Yadkinville Food Mart gas stations in Yadkinville, and Steve Compton will pay $7,800 for alleged price gouging at Tire Pro of Troy, also known as Troy BP.

Attorney General Roy Cooper said the Consumer Protection Division of his office now has won more than $71,000 in consumer refunds, energy assistance funds and civil penalties from 14 stations in the state probe.

The state began investigating possible price-gouging by North Carolina gas stations when thousands of consumer complaints started pouring in hours after Ike struck the Texas Gulf Coast on Sept. 12, 2008. Former Gov. Mike Easley activated the state's price-gouging law because the storm knocked refineries off line and created a market disruption.

"A crisis shouldn’t be an excuse to rip off consumers,” Cooper said in a statement. “People let us know that they were getting gouged at the pump, and we took action to make violators pay.”