Gasoline prices rose up to $5.50 a gallon in parts of Florida on Friday when rumors of a fuel shortage spread across the state. Motorists in Tallahassee were lined up to pay $5.49 per gallon.
A fuel panic swept Gainesville on Thursday, where long gas lines spilled over onto a busy thoroughfare, tempers flared and the police were called, said Randy Bly, a spokesman for AAA Auto Club South.
But Agriculture and Consumers Services Commissioner Charlie Bronson responded quickly.
“There is no fuel shortage in Florida,” Bronson said. “There's hundreds of millions of gallons available.”
Bronson promised to act quickly to any price gougers.
He said he would subpoena the records of any gas station suspected of price gouging. Violators face a $10,000 fine per violation, up to $25,000 a day. He said retailers can’t raise prices arbitrarily just because they anticipate higher prices in the future.