The Panama City Beach City Council has drafted a letter to send to local lawmakers and state officials regarding the higher gas prices in Bay County.
When compared to the rest of the state, Bay County residents and visitors pay considerably more for gasoline per gallon.
The letter asks officials to investigate the possibility of market manipulation.
Read the full letter below:
“In the wake of the unprecedented devastation Hurricane Michael inflicted upon Florida’s Panhandle, we are deeply concerned that our already struggling citizens now face increasingly disproportionate prices for gasoline at the pump. While the state enjoys the lowest gas prices in three years, Bay County’s citizens face average gas prices of $2.46 per gallon. Our neighbors in unaffected Escambia County, averaging $2.07 per gallon, pay nearly 5.40 less per gallon despite having a higher local gas tax. This disparity simply doesn’t’t add up. Anyone who is trying to take advantage of this disaster while Floridian families struggle to rebuild their lives should be investigated and prosecuted. Therefore, we believe that Florida law enforcement agencies and regulators should take every step to ensure that all state and federal laws protecting Bay County’s consumers from price-fixing, collusion, gouging, and other anti-competitive practices are vigorously enforced. We, the City Council of the City of Panama City Beach, respectfully request that the Attorney General and Division of Consumer Services investigate any potential collusion, price-fixing, or gouging in the sale or distribution of gasoline in wholesale and retail markets. Given the severity of the Florida Panhandle’s devastation, we hope that each of you will devote the necessary resources to expedite review of this disparity and explore the possibility of market manipulation in our area. We believe that protecting Bay County’s families in these unprecedented times is of paramount importance. We know that you share these goals and appreciate your support.”
Consumers can report price gouging directly to the State Attorney General by calling 1-866-9-NO-SCAM.