SC attorney general warns gas industry execs against price gouging - - Columbia, South Carolina |

SC attorney general warns gas industry execs against price gouging

(Columbia) Sept. 23, 2005 - Many South Carolinians are wondering how much gas prices will shoot up as Rita rams the Gulf Coast.  

Drivers are bracing for more pain at the pump. Driver Rick DeVito of West Palm Beach, Florida, says, "It's going to drive the price of everything up. Building materials, fuel. The more the fuel goes up the more the prices of goods go up."

David Putney of Connecticut is also focused on the prices, "It's going to make it harder to go anywhere if you travel, for any reason. It's just going to be harder to go anywhere. I pity these guys that have to go out and work every day and try to make a living. It costs them a fortune in gas."

It's still too early to tell what kind of damage Rita will do to petroleum supplies and how high gas prices will go. But South Carolina's attorney general has already sent a letter to petroleum industry executives, to let them know the state will be watching.

Henry McMaster says after Hurricane Katrina, he got reports of what appeared to be excessive gas prices, as high as $5 a gallon in South Carolina, "We wanted all those concerned to know that it's not like the wild West. There are some rules that need to be followed."

But McMaster's office never found any clear examples of price gouging. Sims Floyd of the South Carolina Petroleum Manufacturers Association says, "As many phone calls, and there were many, you know to this office and to the, you know, various state agencies, we haven't seen one case of price gouging that's been substantiated. There hasn't been one case that's been investigated where they say, 'Aha! Here's the guy that was trying to take advantage of the situation'."

There is optimism that gas prices won't skyrocket this time the way they did after Katrina. Kay Clamp of the South Carolina Petroleum Council says, "I would think that we would see less of a supply disruption. And therefore, less in terms of the higher prices that we saw after Katrina. But it all depends on the strength of that storm and where it hits."

Meantime, drivers like Walker Whitmore appreciate any effort to keep an eye on prices, "If they's doing the wrong thing they should look at it, they should do the right thing."

If you see activity that appears to be price gouging, you can report it to

Reported by Jack Kuenzie

Posted 7:10pm by Chantelle Janelle

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