By NATHAN GREGORY
Prices at Starkville pumps have jumped over the past few days after Hurricane Isaac’s arrival caused pipeline and refinery closures on the Gulf Coast.
As of press time, the lowest reported price for regular gas in the city was $3.55 per gallon at the BP station on 51 Lee Blvd. A majority of stations reported $3.69 per gallon, including the Shell stations on 601 University Drive, 101 Academy Road and 100 Miss. Highway 12 East. Two Chevron stations in town are reported to have their prices at $3.75. The highest reported price, $3.89 per gallon, is Rackley Oil on 225 Industrial Park Road.
Several stations reported $3.58 and $3.59 per gallon, including the Murphy USA at 1012 Miss. Highway 12, the Texaco on 416 Miss. Highway 182 and Strange Brew at 605 Highway 12.
Curt Crissey, who owns three gas stations, said he had to raise his prices from $3.51 to $3.59 last weekend and expects for the trend to continue while Isaac has an effect on the area.
“I’m getting a new load today, and they’re telling me it’s going to be at a higher price (than last weekend’s shipment),” Crissey said. “You’re going to see a pretty big hike.”
An assistant team leader from the Shell station on 101 Academy Road said prices increased 10 cents from $3.59 for a gallon of regular gas to $3.69 Monday.
Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood issued a press release Tuesday confirming he was enforcing the state’s price gouging statute. He had previously issued a statement Monday saying he could not enforce the statute at that time because a state of emergency alone “does not establish our ability to enforce the price gouging statute.”
The statute says the value received “for all goods and services sold within the designated emergency impact area shall not exceed the prices ordinarily charged for comparable goods or services in the same market area or immediately before the declaration of a state of emergency or local emergency.”
The Attorney General’s office has reported receiving approximately 200 price gouging calls related to Hurricane Isaac.
“It just isn’t right to slip in last minute increases knowing our folks are facing an emergency situation.” Hood said in Tuesday’s statement. “After Katrina, some hotel owners in north Mississippi decreased their prices for those fleeing the hurricane.
“I hope that spirit will prevail during Isaac,” he continued.