Gas Prices

Wednesday, the price of gasoline at some convenience stores along Highway 11 near College Park was $2.73 a gallon. About a mile down the road it was $2.49 a gallon for regular unleaded. Is this price gouging? Officials with the attorney general's office say not necessarily.

According to Grant Hedgepeth, who is the state director for Consumer Protection, the price of gas at convenience stores must be judged on a case-by-case basis. He says this is the case because store prices must align with how much the owner paid for the gas delivered.

Last week he says the price for gasoline was higher. Therefore, many stations began to charge more. With most gas stations in cities supplied with a truckload of gas every day or so, he says the price of gasoline can fluctuate because each time it's replenished, each load might vary in costs. However, with prices showing a trend of dropping to pre-Katrina rates, he says the prices should soon go down, even at stations where they are now at an all-time high.

Right after Hurricane Katrina, officials with the state attorney general's office say they received almost 3,000 calls daily about price gouging. One of those calls included gas getting up to $4 a gallon at one station. While many of the claims turned up not to be price gouging, they say the attorney general's office is taking the claims seriously. In fact, it's currently working 100 cases of possible gouging.

Not only that, but at this time Hedgepeth says the attorney general's office in Mississippi is teaming up with attorney general offices from 43 other states to investigation just what is causing gas prices to continue to rise?

While the investigation will take several months to a year to complete, he says for consumers at the pump, a conclusion can't come a moment too soon!