Price-gouging complaints hit North Carolina on heels of Hurricane Florence

September 17, 2018

North Carolina's top law enforcement official is looking into hundreds of complaints alleging price-gouging in the wake of Hurricane Florence.

Attorney General Josh Stein has received about 500 complaints so far alleging price-gouging for essentials like gas and water, his office said Monday. Most of them were in the eastern part of the state, and investigations of some gas stations have already begun.

About 20 percent of gas stations in the state are without gasoline as of Monday morning, GasBuddy reported, while 10 percent are without power. In South Carolina, 9 percent of stations were without gas. Other stations have extensive lines of cars waiting to fill up, according to reports on social media.

However, Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said the popular app has not received any reports of gouging. "To date, we have not received a single photo of receipts or signs showing far above average prices," he said.

Preparation for Hurricane Florence drove up gas prices by 5 cents a gallon in South Carolina, 3 cents in North Carolina and 1 cent in Virginia, according to AAA. But they have remained relatively stable, and the statewide prices for South Carolina and Virginia even today put them among the 10 cheapest states for gas. 

"The situation will likely take time to improve but the good news is that fuel supply has not stopped flowing,"...

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