Texas gas companies have a lawsuit on their hands after their shameful Harvey-induced price gouging

Aaron Berg fills up a gas can and his portable generator Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017, in Houston, as Hurricane Harvey intensifies in the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricane Harvey is expected to hit a refinery-rich stretch of the Gulf Coast and U.S. drivers could soon see the impact at the gas pump. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

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After receiving more than 3,300 complaints of Harvey-related price gouging, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office filed suit against several gas companies Tuesday, including one in north Texas.

According to Paxton’s press release, Texaco-branded gas stations in the Dallas-Forth Worth area were allegedly charging almost $7 a gallon for gas on Aug. 31, even while they had signs posted with different, lower dollar amounts.

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Two other companies are also being sued, and the plaintiffs allege some gas companies charged as high as $9.99 per gallon, according to a report by MySanAntonio.com.

“It’s unconscionable that any business would take advantage of Texans at their most vulnerable — those who are displaced from their homes, have limited resources, and are in desperate need of fuel, shelter and the basic necessities of life,” read part of the statement Paxton released Tuesday.

“Texas has tough price gouging laws, and my office will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute cases arising from Hurricane Harvey.”

The sharp price increases came during a panic caused by a perceived gas shortage right after Harvey hit. There was widespread public concern over gas, fueled by news of refineries shutting down before Harvey hit. Further shutdowns were caused by damage and flooding during the storm.

Each business named in the suit will pay a maximum $250,000 fine in civil court. Suits were filed in Dallas, La Salle, and Nueces County courts.

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