ViewPoint: Gas Price Gouging pursued by governor

September 16, 2008

As the people in Texas hunkered down for the arrival of Hurricane Ike last Friday, we here in South Georgia were already feeling the effects of the storm, in the form of ridiculous gas prices.

Overnight Thursday, gasoline jumped as much as $1.77 per gallon in some towns.

While we sympathize with retailers who have to pay higher prices to wholesalers, we believe some of them are downright greedy and hiked their prices unnecessarily.

Governor Sonny Perdue declared a state of emergency Friday afternoon, which immediately prohibited gas gouging. But by then, it was too late.

Under the law, anyone who raised prices BEFORE his 7:00PM declaration, couldn't be prosecuted.

So the stage was set. Regular unleaded sold for between $4.59 and $5.66 a gallon all weekend.

Many stations are now out of gas because of the panic the rising prices prompted. Some will remain without fuel because they're hesitant to pay higher wholesale prices because the retail value of the gas will inevitably drop.

As a result, those with elevated prices will continue to rake in the business because they don't have as much competition.

Somebody stop this merry-go-round.

We call on the state of Georgia to immediately and aggressively go after these gas station owners who took advantage of consumers. Fines that range from two thousand to $25,000 can be imposed on gas gougers, and we believe that's exactly what they deserve.

We're not saying that ALL gasoline retailers are guilty, but we know some of them are, and we want them held accountable.

This isn't the first time a hurricane has triggered gas greed, we saw it three years ago with Katrina, too.

There will be plenty of hurricanes in our future, and gas gouging is NOT something we're willing to accept as a side effect of those storms.