It seems that in recent weeks, not only have gas prices dramatically risen but the price range also varies by 20 cents or more per gallon across the state. Now, Attorney General Troy King has become suspicious of price gouging, and launched an investigation.
He and other attorneys general across the United States began issuing subpoenas this week in order to catch those who are price-gouging. The East Gate Gas Station on Andrews Street in Ozark has regular unleaded gas priced at $2.62 cents per gallon. But another station just down the street is selling the same gas for 37 cents more. And Ozark residents have had enough.
Ozark Resident, Billy Faulk says, "When the storm hit, the gas prices went up 30, 40 cents a gallon overnight and the oil was already in the tanks and why are they selling it for 30 cents more profit at that point?"
Attorney General Troy King has launched this investigation to answer some questions for consumers who are feeling taken advantage of after the Hurricane Katrina disaster, consumers like Billy Faulk who are feeling the pinch right here in their own home town.
Billy Faulk says, "I hear complaints every day about this oil price situation. It's out of control; it's gotten out of hand; it's absolutely ridiculous."
Ozark resident, Joe Hixsen also states, "I'm driving this old car, which is 12 years old but it's in good shape. I'm driving this because it gets good gas mileage."
Troy King's office has received more than 900 phone calls from aggravated consumers complaining about gas price-gouging. So he and 44 other attorneys general across the country are seeking detailed fuel pricing data from select gasoline retailers. The information has to be given to Troy King's office by September 30. He says gas retailers who are found to be price-gouging will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
The 20 gas retailers in Alabama who have been subpoenaed this week are the ones the attorney general's office has received the most complaints about. Troy King says he will inform the public of any businesses that are found innocent of price gouging.
Troy King says he and the other attorneys general will also be issuing additional subpoenas throughout the entire chain of oil distribution, including oil refiners, pipelines, terminals and gas wholesalers.