WSFA 12 News Investigating Sudden Increase in Gas Prices

WSFA 12 News is getting nonstop phone calls about a sudden increase in gas prices all over the southeast. Viewers are telling us that they've seen prices from $4.70 in Prattville, $4.65 in Luverne to $4.25 at one gas station on Chantilly Parkway in east Montgomery.

We have heard reports of some lines surrounding some gas stations in Alabama and other southeastern states.

What's causing this increase remains unclear right now. Hurricane Ike is heading to Texas forcing refineries in the Gulf of Mexico to shut down. Despite that, AAA  of Alabama is making one thing clear -- there is no gasoline shortage. Officials with the organization say they believe some people are panicking after hearing rumors of a gas shortage.

All this is happening on a day when the price for a barrel of oil dropped below $100 for the first time in 5 months.

Several other states have declared a state of emergency, but Alabama's Governor can't do that. That's because Alabama law says he can't, unless one of 3 things happens. Those things are: There is an attack or about to be an attack on the United States, there is a natural disaster that impacts Alabama, or there is a public health emergency.

However, if you feel a gas station near you is price gouging, contact the Alabama attorney general's office.

Watch WSFA 12 News at 5,6, and 10 for the latest coverage from around the state.