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Post “Isaac” Gas Price-Gouging Widespread?

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Hurricane Isaac may be well past South Florida..but the big storms’ impact is already hitting our budgets hard…gas prices are rising steadily.

Cbs Miami found it’s “Goodbye ” to gas in the high threes, because four dollar a gallon and even higher is  already hitting local drivers.

Florida’s still under a declared emergency because of Hurricane Isaac and the state’s price-gouging laws remain in effect.

But gas prices are skyrocketing even higher every day and some tourists think they’re being ripped off!

The big storms’  almost on a direct path straight to the heart of the u-s oil industry. It’s forcing petroleum platforms to shut down along with almost half of the country’s oil refineries.

The impact is already being felt as gas stations here and around the country.

gasoline Distributor Max Alvarez says “The minute that it’s sidelined, automatically you can expect the prices to go up between 10-15 cents.”

So how high and how fast will we see gas going up?

Some local gas watchers say gas will soon be going up over $4.00 a gallon and even higher

Venezuelan tourist Carlos Perez filled up off LeJuene road by Miami International Airport.

He paid $4.59 a gallon for regular.

He explains “I think Miami being a source of tourism I think they should do something to reduce the gas prices…that would attract people..the way it is now it;’s putting the people out.

And gas prices were even higher at the station next door, up over $4.70 a gallon!

Local cabbie Richardo Andrade thinks tourists are being especially targeted with high gas prices…near the airport car rental agencies and adds ” They rip you off, they’re taking their money away especially with the rental cars I mean.”

Even some local gas distributors say dealers are now raising prices way over their wholesale costs according to Max Alavarez, ” The worst it does to our industry is give us a black eye. And when they get gouged, I’m pretty sure they have a bad taste in their mouth and that’s bad not only for the industry, but it’s bad for our area,  it’s bad for Dade County,  it’s bad for South Florida”.

Under the state’s current emergency declaration, increased costs can be legally passed on to consumers .

But the question now remains for state prosecutors, are gas stations “price gouging” if they’re more than 60-cents a gallon higher than neighboring businesses…and are they committing a possible violation of state consumer protection laws?

More Information on Florida’s Price Gouging laws:

http://www.miamidade.gov/business/laws/price-gouging.asp

http://www.broward.org/Hurricane/AtoZ/Pages/PriceGougingAfterEvent.aspx

http://myfloridalegal.com/pages.nsf/Main/5D2710E379EAD6BC85256F03006AA2C5?OpenDocument

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