Gov. Beshear activates price gouging laws for fuel

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Gov. Andy Beshear issued an executive order Thursday declaring a state of emergency and activated the state’s price gouging laws to provide protection from highly priced gasoline and motor fuels.

Kentucky consumers can report price gouging to the Office of the Attorney General, and price gougers can be held accountable under state law, according to a release by Beshear’s office.

According to the American Automobile Association, the gasoline prices reached record highs several times in Kentucky in May and kept increasing in June with a record-high average price of $4.798 per gallon on June 11. AAA reported an average price of $4.73 per gallon on June 20.

“Kentucky families deserve relief from increasing gas prices,” said Beshear. “Everyone sitting at a kitchen table working on a budget knows that every little bit helps, and I will continue to seek and take any action that might make even the slightest difference.”

Recently, the governor sent a letter asking the attorney general to advise him on whether to declare a state of emergency.

According to Beshear’s office, the attorney general reported that his office had received 263 complaints of price gouging since Jan. 1 and that 22 of those complaints reported prices of 10% or more above the prevailing price in Kentucky at that time. The attorney general stated that he believed declaring a state of emergency would provide “minimal” relief, stated the release.

Beshear’s office stated he took today’s action because he believes strongly that even minimal relief is better than no relief.

On June 2, Beshear stopped a 2-cents-per-gallon hike in the state’s gas tax that would have taken effect on July 1. The state gas tax’s current rate of 26 cents was set to increase, which would have resulted in a price hike on both regular and diesel fuel.