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Gas Prices Three Bucks?

By: Mike Vasilinda
By: Mike Vasilinda

The impact of Hurricane Katrina is rippling throughout Florida and beyond as gas prices rose overnight by as much as 45 cents a gallon.

That netted a Jacksonville Oil Company a quick subpoena. The situation has retail gas stations pointing fingers at wholesalers.

Some gas prices did not go up overnight. Others jumped dramatically. By law, wholesalers and retailers should not be raising prices on fuel already in their tanks, but the people who sell gas to the public say that is exactly what their suppliers did to them.

Jim Smith of Florida Petroleum Marketers says, “Based on a complaint to the attorney general, one subpoena has been issued asking wholesaler Colonial Oil to prove it was justified in raising gas prices to its retailers. Meanwhile, the gas retailers say there is plenty of supply with nine shipments of new gas on the way to Florida ports.”

Asked about the dramatic price hikes in some places, Jeb Bush says it is a fact of supply and demand.

“Some motorists are taking the hikes in stride, while others remain skeptical.”

The subpoena from the attorney general will take weeks to sort out. The state Department of Agriculture also says it will investigate complaints to its hotline.

If you would like to report what you think are unjustified gas price hikes, the number to call is 1-800-HELP-FLA.


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