By JULIE HAUSERMAN
© St. Petersburg Times, published September 26,
-- At a half-dozen Sarasota service stations, the price of a
gallon of gas jumped a nickel. At a hardware store in
Broward County, plywood rose from $9.95 a sheet to
In Miami, a propane tank refill went from $7 to $20. And
a room at a hotel in Davie jumped from $49 to $133 a
With Georges looming bright on TV screens, businesses
throughout Florida have been boosting prices to take
advantage of disaster, said Bob Crawford, Florida's
commissioner of agriculture and consumer services.
So far, about 100 people have called a state hot line to
complain, officials said.
"We had quite a bit of price gouging during Hurricane
Andrew, but it seems to be more rampant this time," Crawford
said. "Bottled water will be 75 cents one day, and the next
day, it'll be $3 or $4. We've had complaints of plywood
marked up 200 to 300 percent.