BEAUMONT, Texas — QUESTION:

Is the gas surge we are seeing before Tropical Storm Barry makes landfall considered price gouging?

SOURCES: 

Jacques Ambers, Special Assistant to the Attorney General in Louisiana

Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement Estimates (BSEEE)

Texas Attorney General 

PROCESS: 

After seeing gas prices rise rise 54-cents in 48 hours, many 12News viewers have been questioning if the surge ahead of Tropical Storm Barry is price gouging. 

To get the answer, our Verify team reached out to Jacques Ambers, special assistant to the Attorney General in Louisiana. He says, "there can be increases [on gas prices] based on the normal market forces. For instance...rigs shutting down or refineries."

RELATED: Gas prices continue rising as Tropical Storm Barry moves ashore

RELATED: Tropical Update: Tropical Storm Barry strengthening, rain still main threat

And that is the current situation in the Gulf of Mexico. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement Estimates report that 30% of rigs have been evacuated. Supplies are down nearly 600,000 barrels of oil per day, the BSEE reports. 

So, we can VERIFY that when supplies are down the price of gas can go up.

BACKGROUND

Following Hurricane Harvey in 2017, The Texas Attorney General prosecuted 127 Texas businesses for price gouging. 48 of those businesses were gas stations. 

RELATED: VERIFY: Yes, price gouging is illegal but still happens. Here's how to report it.

RELATED: Texas gas stations to pay out $167K for price gouging during Hurricane Harvey

So how do you know if you are being swindled?

It's only when a State of Emergency is activated that legal protections come into play against price gouging. The Texas AG says look for "unreasonably excessive prices" on items that are needed for survival. 

If you think you are being taken advantage of, you can always file a complaint through the AG's office.