As impacts of Hurricane Katrina affect both the production and transportation of fuel, gas stations in the Atlanta area today dramatically jacked up their prices, with one charging $5.87 a gallon.
WSB-TV in Atlanta confirmed to WND that a retailer in a rural area outside the city had priced its gas at $5.87, and the TV station indicated it had another unconfirmed report of $5.99.
The sudden increases prompted Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue late today to enact an executive order preventing retailers from selling gas at an unreasonable or egregious price.
According to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, the law does not prevent price increases that accurately reflect an increase in the cost of the goods or services to the retailer, an increase in the cost of transporting the goods or services into the area, or an increase due to the market forces of supply and demand.
Perdue’s office indicated the gouging was going on in all parts of the state, not just in the Atlanta area.
“We will not tolerate the exploitation of Georgia consumers as we recover from the effects of Hurricane Katrina,” Perdue said in a statement. “Violators of this price gouging statute will be punished to the fullest extent possible.”
Most Atlanta stations that raised their prices placed them at between $3.50 and $4.
There were ’70s-era gas lines at several stations.
Mike Brown, owner of Georgetown Chevron in Chamblee, Ga., said his station had run out of gasoline.
“People are just lined up,” he told Bloomberg. “All of a sudden, people are panicking.”
Katrina knocked out about 95 percent of oil production in the Gulf of Mexico – a key supply point for the U.S. About a quarter of domestic oil comes from the region.
Alpharetta-based Colonial Pipeline, the largest pipeline distributing fuel into Georgia, expects to be operational again by Labor Day weekend, the governor said.
“There’s plenty of gas on the way,” Perdue said at a news conference.
Referring to the executive order, Perdue stated, ” “I’m frankly embarrassed for our state and some of our businesses that we have to do this.”
Meanwhile, several gas stations in the Milwaukee area ran out of fuel for several hours at a time, having to post “Out of Gas” signs at their pumps. The outages were blamed more on logistical problems on the supply end than any increase in demand, Forbes.com reported.
As WorldNetDaily reported, many of the nation’s truck drivers are encountering unprecedented fuel rationing at truck stops as they brace for a spike in prices.
“It’s scary,” Wayne Kitchen, a Greer, S.C.-based driver told WorldNetDaily, noting many independent truckers already are on the brink of financial ruin due in large part to record fuel prices.
“This is really going to put the icing on the cake for a lot of them.”
Those wishing to contribute to hurricane relief efforts can donate to the American Red Cross online or by calling 1-800-435-7669.