Local gas station sued for alleged price gouging during Colonial Pipeline shutdown

CHARLOTTE — A gas station in Charlotte is facing a lawsuit from the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office after it was caught raising gas prices during the Colonial Pipeline shutdown in May, which caused a brief gas shortage.

Clarissa Rankin was getting gas at the Queens Market on West Sugar Creek Road in north Charlotte during the shortage when she noticed the high price.

“I looked at the pump and it was going up by the 10s, so I’m like, ‘Alright, that’s not good,’” she told Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke.

She posted a video on social media that showed the $9.99 price per gallon. The video went viral with millions viewing it, including North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein. Now, Stein is suing the Queens Market, claiming the station raised prices to $3.19 per gallon for regular, $9.99 for midgrade and $9.99 for premium, which is allegedly 256% more than the station was charging before the crisis.

“This Charlotte gas station dramatically jacked up its prices and people were desperate, so many folks paid that,” he told Stoogenke. “It’s wrong for gas stations to raise their prices if their costs have not gone up.”

According to Stein, Queens Market’s fuel costs did not rise.

“This was just their decision to raise prices when people were really in a pinch and they knew it and they were trying to exploit that,” he said.

The lawsuit seeks to reimburse all consumers who overpaid for gas at Queens Market during the state of emergency, plus civil penalties and attorney fees.

“I hope that it sets an example for other gas stations too because that was just absolutely crazy,” Rankin said about the lawsuit.

Channel 9 will follow the lawsuit. If the attorney general wins, we’ll let you know what to do to get your refund if you bought gas at the station during the pipeline shutdown.

Stoogenke tried to contact the owner of the gas station for his response to the lawsuit but didn’t hear back in time for this report.

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