Ark. AG Submits New Gas Gouging Subpoenas

JONESBORO, AR  (KAIT) -- Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel will submit 5 new subpoenas to gas station owners who may have price gouged customers. Officials in Little Rock say 15 separate investigations are underway, after reports of severe price spikes in regular unleaded, plus, premium gasoline and diesel in the wake of Hurricanes Ike and Gustav.

The attorney general's office is still reviewing information submitted by gas station owners, who are reportedly cooperating with the investigation. Some stations are asking for extensions to answer to subpoenas issued by McDaniel in mid-September.

Gas station owners are asking for extensions because they have to find papers showing what the price of wholesale gasoline was at the time, how much they were charging at the time, profit margins and when they changed prices.

The attorney general's office is still investigating the data provided by the owners, and is working on analyzing it. In all, 52 gas stations are under investigation for gas price gouging.

Gas stations all across the southeast, including Arkansas, raised prices just before Hurricane Ike made landfall last month. The attorney general's office says panic set in, and false reports of gas shortages in the state made people line up for gas, no matter the cost.

McDaniel asked Arkansans to submit photo text messages after Governor Mike Beebe called for a state of emergency to fight gas price gouging.

The attorney general's office believes the current climate of the economy is not ripe for gas price gouging.