Ike has shut down oil production in the Gulf, causing prices at the pump to spike all across the country.
Prices have gone up so much, Gov. Tim Kaine says there have even been gas shortages in Virginia after so many people anticipated the rising costs and filled up before the storm hit. In the Valley, people are feeling the pinch and getting their fill cheap while they still can.
Ashby Jesse, a concerned motorist, says, "It's crazy I'm telling you it's unreal here. What's going on? Do you know?"
That's a question many people are asking, but you may not be satisfied by the answers.
"This morning, we came by and it was $3.99 [a gallon] and I was like, this is crazy, something is going on here," says Jesse, who bought gas before prices sky-rocketed any higher. "I figure if I don't get it now, it may be four bucks by tomorrow morning, $4.10, $4.50. Who knows?"
Tina Holt with the Office of Consumer Affairs has an idea, and the kept office was open all weekend to field calls from consumers about suspected gas gouging.
Holt says, "We've had callers that call in and think that 10-percent, 20-percent, or 30-percent increase they're not that worried about, but when you're getting a jump from even say $3.50 to $5.50, then of course there's cause for concern."
She says it is all due to the fallout of the Hurricane Ike, as well as its impact on our fuel resources in the Gulf. In the past two days, Holt says the office has received more than 600 calls from our area alone.
"When the calls come in we do keep track of those, and forward those up to our product and industry standard staff, and that's reported out to the field investigators so they can go out there and take a look at that," says Holt.
If you suspect you're a victim of price gouging, Holt advises you to immediately report it to the Office of Consumer Affairs by calling 1-800-552-9963. Be ready to give your name, address, and phone number, as well as the name of the station, and the prices you have seen there.
The Office of the Attorney General works with Consumer Affairs to prosecute companies guilty of violating the post-disaster anti-price gouging statute.