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TN Officials: No basis for price gouging after September Colonial Pipeline break

TN officials say there's no basis for price gouging after a Colonial Pipeline break in September. (WZTV)

Some gas prices spiked after a pipeline explosion in Alabama.

The average price of gas around the country is $2.21.But some local stations are charging $2.43 or higher, and some of those prices spiked less than 24-hours after the latest pipeline break.

No matter where you drive in Nashville, a number of people say the price of gas suddenly shot up right after Monday's pipeline explosion in Alabama.

“[I] Try not to look at the total, I'm just glad there's gas here,” Driver Agnes Fogo said.

After September's pipeline break, prices increased all over town. At one gas station in Williamson County, the price had been $3.59 a gallon.

But last week, the Tennessee Division of Commerce and Insurance says out of the more than 600 complaints it received of alleged price gouging, there was not a “basis for price gouging” under the Price Gouging Act of 2002.

TDCI sent FOX 17 the following statement regarding the complaints.

Following the pipeline break, and conjunction with the AG’s office, we reviewed the complaints and have sent letters to those who have contacted us regarding these complaints. Preliminary indications do not show a basis for price gouging under the applicable statutes, which require that the state of emergency or disaster have resulted from specific events, and, as such, it does not appear that any further action is likely on those grounds at this time. Specifically, the Price Gouging Act of 2002 specifically defines a state of emergency as a “natural or man-made disaster or emergency resulting from terrorist attack, war, strike, civil disturbance, tornado, earthquake, fire, flood, or any other natural disaster declared by the president of the United States or by the governor pursuant to title 58, chapter 2, part 1.

Officials say after the latest incident on Colonial Pipeline, there's not a shortage of gasoline at retail establishments.

So why are gas prices up at numerous stations around town? For that answer we go to Emily Leroy, the Executive Director of the Tennessee Fuel and Convenience Store Association.

“When the pipeline is shut down, there is a reduce amount of fuel coming into Tennessee and wholesalers and retailers have to go a further distance to bring fuel in and that obviously increases freight charge,” Leroy said.

“I live in Thompson Station and they've gone up a little bit especially after the first few weeks, we're starting to come back down but it's definitely higher here in Nashville,” Driver Ben Ritchie said.

“It's to the point where we're almost used to it, it happens more often than we realize,” Driver Kenya Gray said.

Officials are asking motorists to not change anything right now, if you're not normally going to fill up don't fill up, you wouldn't normally fill your lawn mower or anything else don't do it,

According to the Association for Convenience and Fuel Retailing, no matter who owns the station, prices are determined by four sets of costs: crude oil, taxes, refining costs, and distribution and marketing.

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