It is the responsibility of the Attorney General to initiate inquiries into, or respond to citizen complaints of, unexplained price hikes which could be the result of anti-competitive behavior. In Florida, citizens are provided an extra level of protection through the price gouging statute, which is activated following a declaration of emergency by the Governor.
There are many factors affecting gas prices that are beyond the authority of the Attorney General’s Office, but the office does play an important role in ensuring the marketplace operates in the best interest of consumers. In cases where evidence points to collusion to fix the price of gas, the Attorney General’s Office has filed lawsuits against the offending companies.
Executives from seven major oil companies have exchanged perspectives with the Attorney General. Citizens have provided specific information on areas of concern around the state.
The office, in conjunction with the Federal Trade Commission, will continue to monitor the market for evidence of violations of state or federal antitrust laws.
In June, 2005 the Attorney General released the results of an investigation into fuel pricing practices by the oil companies. The report can be accessed at: http://myfloridalegal.com/newsrel.nsf/newsreleases/F399E77EC2552DA5852570210058B179