Gas prices rose near, and above, the $4 mark around the state last Friday, prompting long lines at stations around Russell County as Hurricane Ike prepared to hit the Texas coast and gas distributors rushed to keep tanks full. Around noon on Friday gas prices began to surge near $4 around the area and as the word spread around the county more and more people headed out to wait in lines. Several area stations saw gas increase at least four times in a one-hour period around lunchtime, according to reports, when the majority of motorists decided to fill up. Numerous stations finally settled at $3.85 for a time, allowing vehicles to line up. In response to the dramatic spike in gas prices Friday, Gov. Steve Beshear signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency to prevent price gouging in the state. Under this order, the governor can apply Chapter 367 of the Kentucky Revised Statutes to implement provisions of the law aimed at protecting Kentucky citizens from "predatory pricing by unscrupulous providers." This includes, but is not limited to gasoline and building supplies. "I am outraged by the voracious practices of price gouging we are seeing," Beshear said in statement, "Today, I have taken an extraordinary step to protect the consumers of the commonwealth from these predators." The emergency declaration, issued before Hurricane Ike reached the coast Saturday, triggered several consumer protection measures. Among them, it allows Attorney General Jack Conway to investigate and prosecute, where appropriate, those who sell gasoline, building supplies and other goods for predatory pricing in a time of disaster. Gov. Beshear and Attorney General Conway have partnered to make aggressive consumer protection a priority, launching an investigation earlier this summer into high gas prices in Louisville. "I formally requested that Gov. Beshear implement the price gouging protections of Kentucky's Consumer Protection Act as they apply to gasoline and other goods and services," Conway said Friday. "We have received an overwhelming influx of reports from across Kentucky regarding gasoline price spikes and even rationing. I felt it was important to get the price gouging protections in place as soon as possible to protect the commonwealth's consumers and businesses," Conway said. The gulf region hit hardest by Ike contains nearly 25 percent of U.S. oil refining capacity, according to national media outlets. A survey released Saturday morning by the American Automobile Association showed the national average price of regular unleaded gasoline went up nearly six cents to $3.73 a gallon, from $3.675 a day earlier. The increase was the biggest one-day rise in gas prices this year and the largest since the aftermath of 2005's Hurricane Katrina, according to AAA. The price increase seen in Russell County and in the state, along with others in the Southeast, was because we lie at the end of several Gulf oil pipelines. As of Tuesday, gas prices in Russell County had remained high with most stations selling regular unleaded for just under $4 at $3.99 per gallon.
The Times Journal is a weekly newspaper issued on Thursdays. It was first published on October 13, 1949, by Andrew J. and Terry Norfleet.
P.O. Box 190
120 Wilson St.
Russell Springs KY 42642
Russell County News is a weekly newspaper issued on Saturdays, and is mailed free to every address in Russell County, Ky. It was first published on February 1, 1913.
404 Monument Square
Jamestown KY 42629