Much of the Gulf Coast in Texas has been under emergency after being hit by Hurricane Harvey this weekend. A majority of victims in southern Texas are reportedly uninsured for flooding, which could causing dueling states of disaster—for both finance and infrastructure—stretching into the tens of billions of dollars. On top of these problems, price gouging has forced the cost of necessities like bottled water to climb to $99 a case.
Now, a Houston convenience store has began charging $20 a gallon for gas, according to the Texas Attorney General's office.
Texas AG Ken Paxton claims that he has received a near-endless list of complaints regarding price gouging, leading state officials to look into extreme cases of the crime. Examples have been posted across social media, and victims of the storm are demanding action against the crime.
Spokesperson Kayleigh Lovvorn responded to the situation at the Houston convenience store in a report with Jalopnik:
“That convenience store was reported to us in a complaint—we’re tracking all complaints as they come in and following up with persons/businesses involved in price gouging and scams as quickly as we can, and in person if possible."
The gas station has reportedly been ordered to lower this cost to a suitable amount in fairness to Texas residents.
Paxton claimed in an interview with CNBC that the potential penalty for price gouging is $25,000 per occurrence with the fines reaching up to $650,000 if the victim is 65 years or older. The Attorney General is adamant about the situation, exclaiming that there will be repercussions for such cases.
Some economists have claimed that price gouging is a formidable reaction to disasters. Reports say that it is essential for the continuation of business, though the action is still a criminal offense in the state of Texas.
President Trump is currently surveying the damage left in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.