Governor: No Price Gouging, Gas Supply May Be Limited

Governor Mike Easley declared a state of “abnormal market disruption” under North Carolina law, which charges the Attorney General with enforcing the price gouging statute.

Easley issued the following statement concerning the situation:

“As a result of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, oil refineries in Texas and Louisiana have temporarily interrupted some gasoline supplies to the pipelines that serve North Carolina. Therefore, there may be temporary limitations on our gas supply. However, wholesale gas prices are up less than 20 cents a gallon over the last few days. Therefore, consumers should not see prices rise substantially more than this rise in the wholesale price.

“Today I have declared a state of abnormal market disruption under North Carolina law and charged the Attorney General with enforcing the price gouging statute. This statute prohibits the charging of prices that are unreasonably excessive under the circumstances.

“We know that there will be some supply disruption, but we do not yet know the extent. Past events of this kind have lasted only a short time. I urge motorists to reasonably conserve gasoline until the situation is clearer. ”



PREVIOUS STORY:

The North Carolina Attorney General's office says they are getting complaints of gasoline price gouging.

But the state's price gouging law doesn't become effective until the governor declares a state of emergency, which has not happened.

Attorney General Roy Cooper today urged the governor to make that happen. “People are understandably frustrated that already high gas prices are rising so quickly. I urge the governor to trigger the price gouging law and we stand ready to take consumer complaints. I encourage gas stations to avoid panic price increases and consumers to avoid panic fill-ups.”


North Carolina Price Gouging Statute:

Prohibit excessive pricing during states of disaster, states of emergency, or abnormal market disruptions.
(a) Upon a triggering event, it is prohibited and shall be a violation of G.S. 75-1.1 for any person to sell or rent or offer to sell or rent any goods or services which are consumed or used as a direct result of an emergency or which are consumed or used to preserve, protect, or sustain life, health, safety, or economic well-being of persons or their property with the knowledge and intent to charge a price that is unreasonably excessive under the circumstances. This prohibition shall apply to all parties in the chain of distribution, including, but not limited to, a manufacturer, supplier, wholesaler, distributor, or retail seller of goods or services. This prohibition shall apply in the area where the state of disaster or emergency has been declared or the abnormal market disruption has been found.

In determining whether a price is unreasonably excessive, it shall be considered whether:
(1) The price charged by the seller is attributable to additional costs imposed by the seller's supplier or other costs of providing the good or service during the triggering event.
(2) The price charged by the seller exceeds the seller's average price in the preceding 60 days before the triggering event. If the seller did not sell or rent or offer to sell or rent the goods or service in question prior to the time of the triggering event, the price at which the goods or service was generally available in the trade area shall be used as a factor in determining if the seller is charging an unreasonably excessive price.
(3) The price charged by the seller is attributable to fluctuations in applicable commodity markets; fluctuations in applicable regional, national, or international market trends; or to reasonable expenses and charges for attendant business risk incurred in procuring or selling the goods or services.
(b) In the event the Attorney General investigates a complaint for a violation of this section and determines that the seller has not violated the provisions of this section and if the seller so requests, the Attorney General shall promptly issue a signed statement indicating that the Attorney General has not found a violation of this section.
(c) For the purposes of this section, the end of a triggering event is the earlier of 45 days after the triggering event occurs or the expiration or termination of the triggering event unless the prohibition is specifically extended by the Governor.
(d) A "triggering event" means the declaration of a state of emergency pursuant to G.S. 166A-8 or Article 36A of Chapter 14 of the General Statutes, the proclamation of a state of disaster pursuant to G.S. 166A-6, or a finding of abnormal market disruption pursuant to G.S. 75-38(e).
(e) An "abnormal market disruption" means a significant disruption, whether actual or imminent, to the production, distribution, or sale of goods and services in North Carolina, which are consumed or used as a direct result of an emergency or used to preserve, protect, or sustain life, health, safety, or economic well-being of a person or his or her property. A significant disruption may result from a natural disaster,
weather, acts of nature, strike, power or energy failures or shortages, civil disorder, war, terrorist attack, national or local emergency, or other extraordinary adverse circumstances. A significant market disruption can be found only if a declaration of a state of emergency, state of disaster, or similar declaration is made by the President of the United States or an issuance of Code Red/Severe Risk of Attack in the Homeland Security Advisory System is made by the Department of Homeland Security, whether or not such declaration or issuance applies to North Carolina.
(f) The existence of an abnormal market disruption shall be found and declared by the Governor pursuant to the definition in subsection (e) of this section. The duration of an abnormal market disruption shall be 45 days from the triggering event, but may be renewed by the Governor if the Governor finds and declares the disruption continues to affect the economic well-being of North Carolinians beyond the initial 45-day period. (2003-412, s. 1; 2006-245, s. 1; 2006-259, s. 41.)


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by jimmy Location: new bern on Oct 9, 2008 at 06:40 AM
    The cost for a barrel of oil is below $90.00. Why is the price still high? Tell me why the price is always higher in New Bern. Is there anybody that has enough --- to control big companies gouging people. There is no reason why gas prices should be this high.
  • by Geez Location: NC on Sep 16, 2008 at 08:56 AM
    Easley will soon be out of office and that's good. Will we choose someone who is better??? I think not...
  • by Rob Location: NC on Sep 15, 2008 at 03:35 PM
    If Easley says that there is no price gouging, then I have a date tonite with Valerie Bertinelli. And that ain't gonna happen!
  • by Anonymous Location: eastern carolina on Sep 15, 2008 at 10:56 AM
    I keep hearing drill off shore- don't the big oil companies make enough. Now we want them to drill more- so they can control that fuel as well. Maybe its time we really look for alterative sources and screw the big oil companies. Any one running for office and calling for off-shore drilling- must really be looking out for big oil. For 35 years I have heard people are looking for alternative fuel-where is it? Still in the hands of big oil!
  • by Richard Location: Chocowinity on Sep 15, 2008 at 07:36 AM
    Cypress Station @ Old Blounts Creek Rd & Hwy 33 increased regular gasoline from $3.79 to $4.79 between 9:15 AM and 11:15 AM on Friday September 12, 2008.
  • by Obama Snake Oil Co Location: Washington on Sep 15, 2008 at 07:31 AM
    Wasn't it Easley who said that gas stations should limit to 10 gallons? There is the Friday frenzy. Matt, I am with you. For years we have watched corruption by the democrats in this state. Yet, so many people just vote straight dem tickets. The liberals, Easly and Purdue (doens't want drilling and now drilling is OK) flip flop to whatever they needed to get elected only to go back to a liberal adjenda. Now we are paying the price of the agenda. Frankly, we cannot afford the democrates in government, they are just too expesive. Also the party that pushed John Edwards and Obama, we just cannot trust them either.
  • by Cat Location: Gboro on Sep 15, 2008 at 06:16 AM
    Somebody once made the comment that when they raise gas to over $4/gal, people will get mad, then they will "drop" it to $3 something a gallon and everybody will be ok with that. Its not ok though. Since when did $3.65/gal become acceptable? When they jacked it up to $4 ! Thing is, we have to drive.. Doesn't matter how bad it gets. Its crazy really.
  • by Anonymous on Sep 15, 2008 at 05:33 AM
    Ironic that Easley doesnt mind gouging NC taxpayers with his wifes hefty raise!
  • by Claire Location: chocowinity on Sep 15, 2008 at 03:50 AM
    Someone needs to check on the cypress station on hwy33. If they aren't gouging, I don't know who is.
  • by Matt Location: NC on Sep 14, 2008 at 08:34 PM
    Just remember guys, Easley supports Bev Purdue! Vote McCrory!
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