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Inflation at the pump, part 2

Mel Rising Dawn Cordeiro

Opinions Editor

Image via Caroline Niehoff

Gas prices are still constantly fluctuating, ebbing and flowing with the market demands. However, lately there have been reports of gas gouging throughout the United States. Gouging occurs when a seller increases the price of a good, a service, or a commodity to a level that is no longer considered to be fair or reasonable. We see price gouging occur quite frequently, especially after natural disasters such as hurricanes.

Here in Rhode Island, it would appear that there are few gas stations who have similarly priced gas. Understandably, this is cause for concern. Are gas station owners gouging the price of their gasoline to turn a profit? While that may be the case for some business owners, another semi-reasonable explanation could be the price of gasoline when purchased. Gas prices can certainly fluctuate throughout the day, depending also upon when and where gasoline is purchased, and it is not uncommon to see a change in prices up to $.20 within a day. Businesses must turn a profit in order to stay in business, but where is the line between price gouging intentionally with a greedy mindset and price gouging for survival? Certainly a higher price at the pump would mean less business for any gas station.

To date, there have been no reports of investigations in Rhode Island and the Attorney General’s office denies that there are any cases, or potential cases, of gas price gouging. This does not mean that this is not occurring, it just means that no one has gotten caught. The Office of the Attorney General has also not commented on whether there have been any reports at all. One would like to think that this would mean that we are well protected at the pump, but is this truly the case? In comparison, the Attorney General’s Office made little to no comment regarding their investigations into hand sanitizer price gouging during the heart of the pandemic. While is it possible to “work in the dark” and leave the consumer presumably clueless, it would be far more beneficial to the public that the “powers that be” show that they truly are working for their constituents.

Do your research, consumer, and do not be afraid to report anything you may find suspicious. To report possible gas gouging, contact the office of RI Attorney General Peter Neronha at 401-274-4400. Any report you file must be taken seriously and investigated.


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