South Mississippi Drivers Outraged By Gas Price Hikes

By Patrice Clark - bio | email

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Skyrocketing gas prices in Ocean Springs have motorists outraged. WLOX was inundated with phone calls Friday from drivers complaining about price gouging.

A $3.99 price tag at Fleet Gas station on Highway 609 left people angry. Drivers say it has spiked nearly 30 cents in just one day.

"I think it is ridiculous, somebody is gouging and taking advantage of the storm. It is just pure and simple greed is all it is," driver Mitch Easley said.

The Ocean Springs resident said he was shocked to see $3.99, because he usually finds prices at Fleet reasonable.

"It just shows that they are people taking advantage of a really bad situation, and it doesn't look good for the coast."

Easley said it's time Mississippi lawmakers start cracking down on gas stations that pump up prices.

"Whatever form, the government needs take action on this, it needs to take action immediately. I just spoke with the manager in the store, and I double checked the pump because I wanted to make sure that sign was not incorrect."

Fleet's owner, Herndon Oil, said it is not price gouging. Company representatives defended themselves saying the high price reflects taxes, hauling fees, and oil costs. But many driver told us, they aren't buying it.

Driver Julius Maye and his wife Sandra refused to pay Fleet's price.

"We are not in a national emergency in terms of energy where gas prices have to go up this up this high," Maye said.

"I will never go to this store again," Mitch Easley said.

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood said there are other considerations in determining price, such as the cost associated with refining oil and transporting gasoline. Still, Hood said his office is reviewing reports of possible price gouging and is requiring merchants to justify any questionable increases.

Hood said while many people think the price of gas cannot be raised during a state of emergency, merchants are actually allowed to increase their prices if they have incurred additional costs, such as transporting fuel to their stations.