Lawmakers crack down on gouging - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Lawmakers crack down on gouging

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September 1, 2005

Albany- Filling up hurts more now than ever.

"I'm worried about the price. That's all I'm worried about is the price," Zelda Hillhouse.

"We barely make any money as it is and look for 19.39 I got six gallons of gas," says Bobbie Mitchell.

Mitchell purchased gas this afternoon at $2.99. She says she wanted to take advantage of the bargain before it went up to what many stations in Albany are charging, nearly $3.50.

"I'm scared I'm not going to be able to get to work," says Mitchell.

So were many others. Lines for gas wrapped around many stations Wednesday when motorists feared a gas shortage.

"We do have pipelines open, and the public needs to realize when they start a panic, there's a run on gasoline, and you can have some retailers that are going to raise prices because they now they can get away with it," says Sen. Michael Meyer Von Bremen.

Meyer Von Bremen says retailers are allowed to make a profit, but there is a limit on what is deemed fair. And he says $5.00 a gallon prices like some stations posted in Atlanta are not. He even kept watch on Albany stations Wednesday as their prices climbed.

"They shouldn't have been going up like they were. That gas tank had the same gas in it from the day before, and it cost that retailer the same price as the day before. If they got a new shipment in and had to pay more for it, I understand," says Meyer Von Bremen.

Tom Gieryic's Citgo posted one of the lowest prices in town. He sold eight days worth of gas Wednesday alone. He says most people don't understand that many prices are based on what it will cost stations to replace what they've sold, but he says it's the responsibility of the owners to keep their profits in a reasonable margin, and for those who don't lawmakers say they will pursue prosecution.

Lawmakers say there isn't a shortage but are asking Georgians to carpool and conserve gas so that Hurricane victims won't have a shortage. Meyer Von Bremen says most of the staff at the capitol will be allowed to work from home Wednesday to conserve gas.

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