Reporting Kai Jackson
BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Some are blaming the Mississippi flooding for high prices at the pump. But one state leader is concerned something else is going on.
Kai Jackson explains our attorney general is outraged and he’s demanding answers.
If there is price gouging, Maryland’s attorney general says he plans to get to the bottom of it.
It’s not sticker shock. It’s wallet shock. Many drivers believe gas prices have gone through the roof, and some blame it on flooding in the Mississippi River.
“They’re so high, and they just keep going up and up,” said Lindsay Harbold, of Mt. Washington.
With the average price of gas trending down nationally, some wonder if there’s price gouging at gas stations in Maryland.
Now in Maryland the average is $4, last week it was $3.98, and last year this time it was $3.76.
The price jumped 20 cents overnight at a station in Annapolis.
It’s caught the attention of the attorney general.
“They cannot raise the price by that much and then rely on false and deceptive reasoning,” said Doug Gansler, Maryland Attorney General.
Drivers tell WJZ they’re not sure if stations are artificially hiking the gas prices, but say if they are, this state should crack down.
“Well I think they should investigate and if they were artificially inflated then the proper penalties should happen,” said Theresa Hayden, of Mt. Washington
But local economist Anirban Basu cautions drivers to pump their brakes about price gouging conspiracies.
“It should be noted that gasoline prices are higher throughout the United States,” Basu said. “And indeed, in many parts of the United States, they’re actually higher than they are in the Baltimore metropolitan area. So people can do the investigations if they want. The fact and the matter is there is a lot of demand in the world of oil right now, and there’s been some supply interruptions.”
Basu says he expects more people will take “stay-cations” this year—that means traveling within Maryland to places like the Eastern Shore, Ocean City, Garrett County and Deep Creek Lake because of the cost of traveling across state lines.
AAA reports that some prices have jumped 20-25 cents a gallon since Monday.