Florida agriculture officials overseeing the state's price gouging laws must tell ExxonMobil whether the law intended to protect consumers from skyrocketing gas prices following natural disasters applies to them and other wholesalers, the First District Court of Appeal ruled Tuesday. The appellate court opinion reverses the agency's decision to dismiss a query from Exxon on whether a 1992 law applies only to retail gas stations or the 16 oil companies that refine and sell gasoline on a wholesale basis. Further, the court said the agency must tell wholesalers if they can use a regional pricing index to comply with a provision in the law protecting them from prosecution if the price of oil rises dramatically on a national or international scale.
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