An East Ridge service station that was selling regular gasoline for $4.99 a gallon on Thursday has been sued by the state attorney general's office for price gouging.
It was the first such price gouging action taken in the state.
The suit was filed Friday afternoon in Hamilton County Chancery Court against Ramilaben Patel, of the Tiptop Food Mart #3.
The store is located at 6500 Ringgold Road.
The state is asking for a restraining order against the mart, barring charging excessive prices for gasoline.
Chancellor Howell Peoples is expected to hold a hearing in the case later.
The Tiptop Mart on Friday was selling regular at $2.99 per gallon, though a clerk said it might go up 10 cents a gallon.
She said the $4.99 per gallon had been "a mistake."
She said it was at that price for only about 30 minutes, and no one was sold gas at that price.
“We are taking this very seriously,” said Paula A. Flowers, Commissioner for the Department of Commerce and Insurance. “Under Tennessee law, price gouging is illegal, and we will aggressively pursue anyone who violates that law.”
She said it was anticipated that gas prices would rise after Katrina due to the fact that a substantial portion of the country’s gas supply is produced in the Gulf region. Crude oil prices surged to an all time high and the Division of Consumer Affairs "warns consumers to be on the lookout for potential price gougers."
Consumers may contact the Division of Consumer Affairs at 615-741-4737 or toll free at 800-342-8385 to report incidences of suspected price gouging.
Consumers will need to provide the name of the gas station, address, and the price and grade of the gas being sold. Consumers may also report suspected price gouging online to the federal government at http://gaswatch.energy.gov/.