"Arkansas drafted the price gouging law about 10 years ago but the law goes into affect only when a state of emergency has been declared," Matt DeCample, a representative for Beebe, said. "This is why Governor Beebe has declared the state of emergency."
DeCample said the Attorney General's office handles all reports of price gouging. According to DeCample, the Attorney General's office had received reports of gas prices as high as $6 per gallon in parts of the state by early Sept. 12. DeCample stated that Beebe fully supports Attorney General Dustin McDaniel in this matter and will help pursue anyone who participates in price gouging.
Beebe stated that some of the pipelines that route gasoline to fuel wholesalers and gas stations in Arkansas were shut down until Ike was no longer a threat to the Gulf Coast. As a result of these pipelines being shut down, temporary increase in gas prices were expected.
"We have dealt with emergencies before when severe weather has impacted fuel prices in Arkansas and throughout the region," Beebe said. "This situation is unique with the interruption of pipeline service, and we want to do everything we can to make sure that any price gouging that results can be dealt with swiftly and strongly by the attorney general."
One of Sharp County's local gas stations had cars lined up around the building after hearing the news of rising gas prices on Sept. 12. "We know that there will be some supply disruption, but we do not yet know the extent," Governor Mike Easley of North Carolina said in a statement he released to the public. "Past events of this kind have lasted only a short time. I urge motorists to reasonably conserve gasoline until the situation is clearer." The governor also warned against filling up in panic.
The price of gas at the beginning of the day Sept. 12 was $3.59 at the local gas station, by noon the price was up to $3.79 and at 4 p.m. it was $3.89. This has caused many to rush to the pumps fearing another rise in price. Most gas stations in the area have had similar increases, and many were running low on fuel early in the day due to the panic.
"We just want to keep an eye out and hope we can get through this with minimal impact on the state," DeCample said.