The state has already kicked off some reckoning of its own, as Attorney General Ken Paxton on Tuesday filed lawsuits against three businesses accused of price gouging during the self-inflicted crisis, including one based in North Texas. Best Western has since ended the business partnership.
Bains Brothers, which owns Texaco-branded gas stations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, is accused of charging $6.99 a gallon for regular unleaded gas on August 31 at two of its stations, the release said.
The Consumer Protection Division of the attorney general's office has received more than 3,300 complaints of price gouging during Hurricane Harvey.
Texas law prohibits businesses from charging exorbitant prices for drinking water, food, clothing and fuel during a declared disaster. Signs posted at the stations reportedly advertised prices between $3-$4 per gallon.
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The attorney general also said he'll sue Encinal Fuel Stop, a Chevron gas station near Laredo, which increased prices for gas up to $9.99 a gallon.
"It's unconscionable that any business would take advantage of Texans at their most vulnerable - those who are displaced from their homes, have limited resources, and are in desperate need of fuel, shelter and the basic necessities of life", said Mr. Paxton. Best Western has terminated its relationship with Robstown Enterprises, the attorney general's office said.
The businesses could face up to a $20,000 penalty for each violation and up to a $250,000 penalty for any price gouging incidents that involve victims over the age of 65. They were allegedly charging three times the normal room rate during the weekend that Harvey hit the Texas coast.
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