You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

State inspectors on the lookout for price gouging at gas stations

With gas prices rising steadily in recent weeks, Governor Deval Patrick has directed state inspectors to step up efforts to ensure that gas stations are not engaged in price gouging, false advertising, and other deceptive practices, state officials said on Sunday.

“We want to get ahead of the curve here,” said Barbara Anthony, the state’s undersecretary of consumer affairs and business regulation, in a phone interview. “We want to make sure that no one’s even thinking about price-gouging.”

Continue reading below

Anthony said that while nine inspectors perform regular audits of gas stations to ensure compliance with state regulations, Patrick has asked for increased oversight in light of recent price hikes nationwide.

In a statement, Anthony’s office cited data from a AAA report showing that gasoline prices have risen for 11 consecutive weeks, and that Bay State drivers are currently paying $3.73 per gallon on average, up from $3.30 at this time last year.

In addition to price gouging, the nine field inspectors will also be on the lookout for stations that violate advertising rules, including posting sidewalk signs with lower prices than the rates at the pump, the statement said.

Stations that violate advertising regulations can be fined up to $375 for each offense, according to the statement.

Anthony said that while the industry is generally compliant with state law, inspectors cited a handful of stations last year in the Boston area for inaccurate signage, and the issues were quickly rectified.

Travis Andersen can be reached at tandersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.
Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.