Aug 28 2008

Local gas stations gouge over Hurricane Gustav

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The price gouging at gas stations started this morning. Hurricane Gustav hasn’t made U.S. landfall yet (and it won’t strike South Carolina) but that’s not important — the local stations want their cut of the panic-driven speculation.

I first noticed the “gouge effect” at the Shell station outside the main gate at Shaw AFB, SC. They bumped the price for regular after the media started to describe Gustov as a hurricane. Shell’s price remained +4¢ at 6:45am this morning, but they gouged another +14¢ by 11:45am. A gallon of regular now costs $3.59 at their pumps. The nearby Yogi Stop station followed suit a few hours later with a +5¢ gouge.

[Caveat: GasBuddy.com spotter “safire01″ accidentally overwrote my own lunchtime submission with this morning’s price. Spotter “IGM” later overwrote it with the correct value.]

I only observed gouging at those two stations as of 5:15pm today … but greed has an infectious quality. I fully expect the rest of the gas stations to ratchet up their prices.

PS: today’s gouging reminds me of the Shell station near Scott AFB, IL at the corner of I-64 mile marker 14. They gouged +20¢ on 9/11/01…

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