Etheridge asks feds to look at NC gas price gouging

Washington, D.C. —- U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-Lillington) today called for a federal investigation into possible gas price gouging and market manipulation in North Carolina and other states in the wake of the recent hurricanes.

Etheridge’s request comes after N.C. Governor Mike Easley activated the state’s price-gouging law on Friday and Attorney General Roy Cooper began issuing subpoenas today.

“North Carolina families should not be forced to suffer at the pump while greedy individuals seek to make a quick buck,” said Etheridge. “An increase of one dollar per gallon in one day does not reflect normal market conditions, and I urge the FTC to investigate these allegations of price gouging immediately.”

Etheridge sent a letter today to Federal Trade Commission Chairman William E. Kovacic asking him to immediately investigate major price fluctuations that occurred as Hurricane Ike approached the Gulf Coast.

On Friday gas prices in the Triangle hovered just under $5 a gallon, an increase of one dollar from the previous day. This increase occurred despite the price of a barrel of oil having fallen more than 35 percent from its high on July 11. The Attorney General’s office has received hundreds of calls alleging price gouging at local gas stations.

Etheridge is supporting H.R. 6346, The Federal Energy Prevention Price Gouging Act that would create a federal energy price-gouging law giving the FTC explicit authority to investigate price gouging and setting stiff criminal and civil penalties for price gouging.