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    Gas Shortages Eased in Atlanta Region

    Florida Attorney General investigates fuel suppliers for gouging.

    ATLANTA -- In attempt to shore up gas shortages in the South, the U.S. Department of Energy released another 900,000 barrels of crude oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve to Gulf Coast refineries.

    With each passing day, stations that were dry days and weeks ago are now showing signs of life. The hardest hit cities—Atlanta, Charlotte and Nashville—may still experience shortages over the next two weeks, reported the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

    QuikTrip Corp., which operates 111 gas stations in metro Atlanta, had deliveries at every store on Wednesday, but approximately 10 locations ran out of fuel by the afternoon, the paper reported.

    "We do believe the situation is getting better on a daily basis," QuikTrip spokesman Michael Thornbrugh told the paper. "We’re still going to have spot outages, and that’ll go on for a little bit of time, but they won’t be near as noticeable. The worst is behind us."

    While there is an uptick in available product, many motorists are still having difficulty finding various grades of gasoline. Georgia motorist Mike Sanders told WXIA-TV, "I’ve been to a lot of places. I can’t find premium gas anywhere."

    As more gas becomes available, officials in Florida are turning their energies toward gas gouging claims. While dozens of gas stations around central Florida were cleared of claims of gouging customers after Hurricane Ike, a new state investigation was launched earlier this week to determine if the gas stations were being gouged by their suppliers.

    The state has subpoenaed the financial records of 16 major fuel suppliers to make sure the prices they charged gas stations were legitimate, reported WFTV.

    Following Hurricane Ike, the attorney general’s office took more than 500 complaints of price gouging from customers in central Florida, but investigators found no evidence of crime, according to the report.

    As a result, the attorney general’s office is investigating suppliers, a process that could take weeks.

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