Tuesday morning, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency due to the cyber attack of the Colonial Pipeline on May 7th and the petroleum shortage that subsequently followed. The State of Emergency will remain in effect through 11:59 p.m. on May 15, 2021. When Gov. Kemp declared this State of Emergency, Georgia’s price gouging statutes were activated.

Colonial Pipeline is based in Alpharetta and delivers about 45% of the fuel used along the Eastern Seaboard. The pipeline supplies not only Atlanta and north Georgia but has spurs that travel through Macon and Albany to Bainbridge.

Georgia collects a gasoline tax of 28.7 cents a gallon and a diesel tax of 32.2 cents a gallon. The tax is collected by distributors and paid to the state.

This means that while the State of Emergency remains in effect, businesses may not charge more for products and services identified by the Governor, including motor fuel and diesel fuel, than they charged before the declaration of the state of emergency unless the increased prices accurately reflect an increase in the cost of new stock or the cost to transport it, plus the retailer’s average markup percentage applied during the ten days immediately prior to the declaration of the state of emergency. Under the Price Gouging Statutes, the Department of Law’s Consumer Protection Division (CPD) receives and evaluates reports related to a rise in the costs of goods and services after the declaration is made.

“While we believe this to be a short-term event, we do not want consumers to be taken advantage of,” said Attorney General Carr. “Our office will review all price gouging complaints received to ensure the law is followed.”

According to Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, consumers should also be aware that the Public Health State of Emergency originally issued by the Governor on March 14, 2020, to assist with the state’s response to Covid-19 is currently in effect through May 30, 2021. That order prohibits price gouging of goods and services necessary to support public health.

Violators of Georgia’s price gouging statutes may be fined up to $5,000 per violation.

“While not all price increases qualify as gouging, we do want to make clear that anyone taking advantage of this disruption, and making a quick buck off the backs of Georgians will not be tolerated,” Kemp said.

Meanwhile, gas prices jumped eleven cents since Monday and sixteen cents since last Friday.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp recently signed into law SB 105, an innovative probation reform bill , with the goal of reducing the number of Georgians serving lengthy probation sentences. (Photo Credit: Associated Press)

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