Normally aimed at helping people find the cheapest gas prices in their area, Gas Buddy has shifted gears once again and now is advising users of Price Gouging by unscrupulous stations following Hurricane Irma. Sadly while evidence of price gouging appears limited and isolated, many stations are priced well above state averages.
GasBuddy’s data suggests that some gas stations are taking advantage of imbalances to supply and demand to materially increase prices, with stations in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas priced 20 cents or more above their state averages.
“Our data shows that while price gouging has taken place in the affected areas, it’s on a fairly limited basis,” said Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy. “That’s the good news. What we are seeing is tantamount to ‘death by a thousand paper cuts.’ Which is to say, stations are taking advantage of the current state of supply and demand, driven by life-threatening circumstances, to raise prices in a more imperceptible way that’s still adverse to motorists, particularly in these dire circumstances.”
On a state-by-state basis, GasBuddy data indicates that:
- In Florida, 24% of stations are 20 cents or more above the state average of $2.71. The highest price in the state is $4.37.
- In Georgia, 20% of stations are 20 cents or more above the state average of $2.75. The highest price in the state is currently $3.99.
- In South Carolina, 20% of stations are 20 cents or more above the state average of $2.54. The highest price in the state is currently $3.79.
- In North Carolina, 20% of stations are 20 cents or more above the state average of $2.63. The highest price in the state is $4.09.
- In Texas, 21% of stations are 20 cents or more above the state average of $2.53. The highest price in the state is $3.99.
GasBuddy Protecting Consumers with New Price ‘Gouge’ Feature
To help protect motorists, GasBuddy has added a new feature within its popular smartphone app that enables consumers in affected areas to take and submit photos of station prices that appear to be abnormally high (i.e. more than $1.50 above what would be considered “normal” for the area). This will enable GasBuddy to further certify and verify that the millions of price reports its apps receive each day are accurate, no matter how high the price reported is.
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