Gas Stations Facing Penalties for Gouging During 2017 'Gas Panic'

48 Texas gas stations, including two in Bexar County, have agreed to fork over a total of $166,000 in 'civil restitution' for overcharging customers in the bizarre 'gas shortage' that folowing Hurricane Harvey last summer, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

The two in Bexar County are the Exxon station at I-10 and Ralph Fair Road and Crown Ridge Shell, which is at I-10 and Camp Bullis Rd, both stations are on the northwest side. 

“At the outset of Harvey, I made it clear that my office would not tolerate price gouging of Texans by anyone looking to profit from the hurricane,” Attorney General Ken Paxton said. “The response to Hurricane Harvey showed the incredible generosity of Texans. These settlements should teach the few who take advantage of their fellow residents to follow the law in the future.”

The stations were all selling regular for $3.99 a gallon or more during Labor Day week last year, when bizarre consumer activity led to the impression of a gas shortage.  It prompted motorists to flock to the pumps, which only made the problem worse.  

Paxton says since Gov. Abbott had issued a state of emergency as Hurricane Harvey approached the coast, making price gouging illegal.  Other businesses in the past have faced similar charges for gouging people for motel rooms and even for water.

Paxton says the invesitigation is not done, and more consumer complaints of gouging are being investigated.  Some stations were photographed selling gas for as much as $9 a gallon.

The law allows businesses to raise prices 25% over prevailing levels, but no more, unless the retailers can justify it by evidence that their own costs have gone up.

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