20 stations in Augusta area part of probe

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ATLANTA --- Twenty of the 166-plus gas stations under scrutiny for price gouging during Georgia's recent gas shortage are in metro Augusta, according to the Governor's Office of Consumer Affairs.

But don't expect sanctions to be leveled anytime soon. Shawn Conroy, a spokesman for the Office of Consumer Affairs, said it might take more than six months before the agency sorts through the stations' financial records and attempts to reach settlements with owners of each station found in violation of Georgia's anti-gouging law.

Most gouging investigations after Hurricane Katrina took six months to a year to complete, he said.

Eleven of the stations are in Richmond County, and nine are in Columbia County, Mr. Conroy said. He would not identify the stations under investigation because the cases are ongoing. Penalties would be made public when the cases are closed, he said.

"We've reviewed complaints sent in by consumers and determined there's enough there that we want to know more about the way these particular stations raised their prices," he said.

Gov. Sonny Perdue invoked the anti-gouging law in late September after hurricanes disrupted production at refineries near the Gulf of Mexico, almost immediately driving up gas prices in Georgia. The law requires that stations maintain the same margin of profit on gas they sell before and after supplies are disrupted.

Penalties can range from $2,000 to $25,000, with the higher penalty typically assessed when disabled or elderly customers are involved, Mr. Conroy said.

After the hurricanes, Georgia received more than 1,600 complaints about price gouging, with some reports of stations charging more than $9 a gallon.

Reach Jake Armstrong at (404) 589-8424 or jake.armstrong@morris.com.

Comments (26) Add comment
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giwi
106
Points
giwi 10/29/08 - 04:09 am
0
0
They need to list the

They need to list the stations so the citizens will not go there.

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 10/29/08 - 04:53 am
0
0
Gouging doesn't exist unless

Gouging doesn't exist unless all of the stations collude to raise prices to an outrageous level simultaneously. If the buyer isn't willing to go to the competition, that's called choice. Dems are such whiners.

ripjones
2
Points
ripjones 10/29/08 - 06:34 am
0
0
How about before we list the

How about before we list the names, we make sure they are guilty. I seem to vaguely remember something about "innocent until proven guilty". Whether you want to say I still had a choice, if they are found guilty, I want to know it. It's kind of like the Citgo outlets changing their name, so you might not remember that you are buying product from a Venezulan dictator, that oh by the way, doesn't really like us all that much. He will however, take our dollars...

mad_max
0
Points
mad_max 10/29/08 - 07:04 am
0
0
No patriciathomas. When ALL

No patriciathomas. When ALL stations collude to raise prices, that is called "price fixing". When there is a shortage but some stations sell gas for $3.89 when they get it and other stations sell gas for $4.99 when they get it and it all comes out of the same pipeline at the same wholesale price, that is called gouging.

Edward1968
624
Points
Edward1968 10/29/08 - 07:13 am
0
0
Patricia, Please re-read your

Patricia, Please re-read your post and correct the two BIG errors!!

ToomuchmoneyIhave
0
Points
ToomuchmoneyIhave 10/29/08 - 07:39 am
0
0
I don't know why you are

I don't know why you are complaining. This is the free market at work. Rich folks need to make their money to you know. How dare you people complain. The increase in price is their award for using their god given talent and taking risks.

ruleoflaw
226
Points
ruleoflaw 10/29/08 - 07:49 am
0
0
Max, I agree with you on the

Max, I agree with you on the collusion charge. However, I would like someone to explain to me what gouging actually is. I will give a scenario and you tell me what gouging would be.......
For example: The cost of gas to the stations is $3.00, add taxes of $0.50 and the total cost of gas to the stations is $3.50. Now what is the minimum price that would constitute gouging? I will follow up with questions to any answers...........

brownskin30434
2
Points
brownskin30434 10/29/08 - 08:08 am
0
0
To patriciathomas:What makes

To patriciathomas:What makes you assume that only democrats were "whining" about the price gouging? Not all rep were born with a silver spoon like you! Therefore paying $4.99 a gallon for gas (regular unleaded) would be a burden to them. You talk alot about democrats whining in your posts. As I see it you spend a lot of time whining about other people whining; what's the difference.

getalife
4
Points
getalife 10/29/08 - 08:53 am
0
0
Gas in the Memphis Tn area is

Gas in the Memphis Tn area is $2.14 a gallon. Are we still being gouged?

usnvet
0
Points
usnvet 10/29/08 - 08:56 am
0
0
Nothing will ever come of it.

Nothing will ever come of it. The government officials are owned by lobbiests. Of the corporation, By the corporation and for the corporation. That's what the constitution reads now.

ruleoflaw
226
Points
ruleoflaw 10/29/08 - 08:59 am
0
0
I still would like someone to

I still would like someone to respond to my earlier post and explain exactly what is gouging..........

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 10/29/08 - 09:16 am
0
0
mad max, if you can't find a

mad max, if you can't find a lower price, it's not price gouging because there isn't a lower price. If you can find a lower price and don't take it, it's called choice. Without price fixing, there can be no gouging.

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 10/29/08 - 09:19 am
0
0
brownskin, Repubs know how

brownskin, Repubs know how the free market works and while complaining, they drive to the lower priced gas. Dems just whine about gouging and pay the extra.

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 10/29/08 - 09:20 am
0
0
usnvet, money talks and b.s.

usnvet, money talks and b.s. walks. same, same.

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 10/29/08 - 09:21 am
0
0
Edward, great post. To quote

Edward, great post. To quote my friend oj2, what da?

backchannel
0
Points
backchannel 10/29/08 - 09:31 am
0
0
I paid $2.32 per gallon in

I paid $2.32 per gallon in Hampton GA below Atl. this past Sunday for Regular. Having been in the wholesale end of the gas business in the past, I would be surprised if the difference in the wholesale price between Aug. and Atl was 15-20 cents. Somebody is making a killing. Can you say windfall?

getalife
4
Points
getalife 10/29/08 - 10:16 am
0
0
Gas in Mississippi now at

Gas in Mississippi now at $1.99, go to following:
http://www.mississippigasprices.com/

areyoukidding
1
Points
areyoukidding 10/29/08 - 10:17 am
0
0
gee PT why didn't it occur to

gee PT why didn't it occur to me - If I had stopped whining long enough i would have realized i just needed to drive to a station selling cheaper gas. PLEASE OH SUP[ERIOR ONE- TELL ME WHERE IN THE HECK THE CHEAPER GAS WAS TO BE FOUND... God you make me sick.

And you Republicans sure know how the free market system and trickle down economics work. First of all its not a true free market system if the rich are getting tax breaks to stimulate the economy. iIs not "trickling down." Instead you are keeping the extra creme for yourselves and sending the jobs oversees so you can keep even more of the creme.

jack
10
Points
jack 10/29/08 - 11:04 am
0
0
areyoukiding, you must be

areyoukiding, you must be kidding. There were plenty of gas stations with varying prices during "Ike" crunch, [filtered word]. As for Republicans and the free market economy, only some un or under educated dolt like you (and there are plenty of you called DIMocRATS) would complain because you ain't smart enough to take advantage of it. If you think jobs are being shipped outside the US now, let your boy NObama and fellow DIMs increase corp taxes.

mdm
0
Points
mdm 10/29/08 - 11:36 am
0
0
People PLEAEAE...it WAS

People PLEAEAE...it WAS gouging...there was a shortage and people were SCARED to try to find a lower price because they MAY NOT GET ANY AT ALL...that's WHY it was gouging because we were ALL being taken advantage of...and not even a kiss when they were done!!

ruleoflaw
226
Points
ruleoflaw 10/29/08 - 12:24 pm
0
0
mdm, or anyone! Please

mdm, or anyone! Please explain to me at what price above cost that gouging takes place? Or what profit margin is unacceptable for gasoline? I cannot get anyone to respond to my questions. Many here have seen gouging, so they say, but can't tell me what it is! Is this so hard to explain????

aj
0
Points
aj 10/29/08 - 12:58 pm
0
0
Gouging means to swindle or

Gouging means to swindle or overcharge. I have always paid attention to prices at the pumps in my area and I will always pay attention. I know which ones to go to and not to go to. I will never go to a BP, normally they are the highest but not always. I have seen upwards of 6 cents difference but I don't know if that's price gouging. I'm with ruleoflaw. What is unacceptable?

justjakob83
0
Points
justjakob83 10/29/08 - 01:03 pm
0
0
It's not price gouging

It's not price gouging because people were willing and able to pay the higher prices for the gas. Because of the panic, there was a crazy increase in demand for the fuel, if as a fuel station you have a limited supply and a huge demand, you have to charge more for the fuel so everyone can get some. Better to of had a little gas than none at all. Gas stations ran out of gas because they obviously weren't charging enough.

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 10/29/08 - 01:49 pm
0
0
areyoukidding, think before

areyoukidding, think before you post. If everyone was charging high prices and it wasn't price fixing, how was it gouging? ruleoflaw has asked how it was gouging and I have stated it wasn't gouging and both of us have explained our point of view in clear, concise terms. How was it gouging? Because you were inconvenienced? We ALL were. That's called high prices under emergency conditions. The point is, you still had the option of not buying or going to the cheapest place. Where was it? At Murphy,USA or at Gregg's Gas Plus or wherever. I found the cheapest in the area. How was it gouging, oh confused one?

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 10/29/08 - 01:51 pm
0
0
RA, I agree with you last

RA, I agree with you last sentence @ 6:07 post.

coolette
10
Points
coolette 10/29/08 - 02:33 pm
0
0
Oh good Lord, please stop

Oh good Lord, please stop milking the story. Yeasterday, you reported on this, today yout ell us it's 20, Give us the list so we can make the choice!! Put up or Shut up!!!

buylessgas2day
0
Points
buylessgas2day 10/30/08 - 10:12 pm
0
0
My definition of unacceptable

My definition of unacceptable is when I find an alternative based on a price I am not willing to pay.

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