Reporting Al Sunshine
MIAMI (CBS4) — Some South Florida drivers double checked their gas bills as they pulled away from the pumps ahead of Tropical Storm Isaac and wondered why it cost so much to fill up.
It’s no surprise now to learn the State of Florida could be very busy with alleged price-gouging cases around South Florida.
Cory Davis thinks the $4.49 a gallon price tag of regular unleaded at his local North Miami Beach gas station gouges local consumers.
He thinks the price hike came as desperate drivers were looking to fill up as Tropical Storm Isaac threatened South Florida.
“They‘re taking advantage of us man, $4.49, the gas prices are ridiculous. Come on man,” complained Davis.
CBS4 found other gas stations in the area selling unleaded regular from about $3.79 to $3.89 a gallon. The $4.49 price tag at the station Cory Davis visited is about sixty-cents more a gallon than other stations in the area.
Under the state’s price gouging laws, it’s illegal to raise prices on critical emergency supplies like gas, but only after a state of emergency is declared.
Formal complaints can be filed with The State Division of Consumer Services at 800-HELPFL or 800-435-7352.
Attorney General Pam Bondi also activated the Price Gouging Hotline on Saturday.
She urged Floridians to report any suspected price gouging at 1-866-9-NO-SCAM (1-866-966-7226).
The cashier at the station charging $4.49 said he doesn’t know when prices were raised and told CBS4′s Al Sunshine that the manager was not working.
If any business is found to have violated state or local price-gouging laws, they can face up to a $10,000 fine.
CBS4 News tried repeatedly to contact the owners of the North Miami Beach Station.
If we hear anything from them, we’ll keep you posted.
*For more information on price gouging, click here.
Here’s how to use the CBS4 site to prepare for and monitor Isaac: