State accuses Central Texas gas stations of gouging during Harvey

3:40 p.m Friday, Nov. 3, 2017 Business
The state says it is looking at 127 gas stations across Texas for possibly engaging in price gouging.

More than 100 gas stations statewide – including several in Central Texas – have been accused by the state’s attorney general of price gouging before, during or after Hurricane Harvey slammed into the Texas coast.

In total, owners of 127 gas stations have been sent notices of violation by the state for allegedly charging more than $3.99 per gallon for fuel.

The attorney general’s office released the full list of gas station operators under scrutiny after receiving open records requests this week from several news outlets, including Austin TV station KXAN and the American-Statesman.

“At the outset of Harvey, I made it clear that my office would not tolerate price gouging of vulnerable Texans by any individuals or businesses looking to profit from the hurricane,” Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a written statement. “We’ve given 127 alleged offenders an opportunity to resolve these issues with our office or face possible legal action for violating state law. Our investigation of other businesses into price gouging remains ongoing.”

Most of the stations are in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

The Central Texas gas stations identified on the state’s list include:

Messages left by the Statesman for representatives of Star Stop 38, Stassney Food Mart and Sam Bass Shell were unreturned. Reached by phone Friday, a representative of the Sunrise Mini Mart disputed the state’s accusations and said the station didn’t even have fuel in stock at the time price gouging was alleged.

Paxton said his office received about 5,500 Harvey-related complaints alleging price gouging.

If found guilty, offenders can be fined and forced to issue refunds, among other remedies.

To file a price-gouging complaint, call the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Hotline at (800) 621-0508 or go to texasattorneygeneral.gov.

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