September 23, 2005
Jefferson City, Mo. — Attorney General Jay Nixon announced today that his gasoline price gouging investigation will be extended for several more weeks to include any reports of gouging following Hurricane Rita, which is expected to hit Texas and Louisiana tonight.
Nixon said more than 50 stations in Missouri are already under review for price gouging during and following Hurricane Katrina. Nixon expects to announce results of that investigation next week.
"Consumers in Missouri are actively reporting to us and we are following leads throughout the state," Nixon said. "Some stations have clearly taken advantage of a natural disaster to inflate prices, which is a violation of Missouri law. They will find out the hard way that such actions don't pay."
Nixon said his staff, including attorneys and investigators, followed more than 300 leads reported to the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Hotline — 800-392-8222 — and are reviewing thousands of gas receipts from state vehicles in use throughout Missouri Aug. 15 to Sept. 15.
As Hurricane Rita approaches, the Attorney General's Office will continue to monitor prices through the upcoming weekend and next week to determine if stations in Missouri are in violation of price gouging regulations.
Nixon said stations violating price gouging regulations will pay penalties. After the 9/11 attacks, Nixon settled price gouging claims with 48 stations with fines totaling more than $60,000.