Clayton County gas prices dropping some

By Justin Boron

The governor's moratorium on gas taxes appeared to be driving down prices, the manager AAA Auto Club South's Atlanta office said on Wednesday.

In Clayton County, several gas stations had dropped regular unleaded prices to a few cents below $3, the price at which they had hung during the holiday weekend.

Garrett Townsend, the manager of the Atlanta auto club office, said a visual inspection on Friday - when Gov. Sonny Perdue called for the moratorium - showed prices to be at about $3.19 around the metro area. By the end of the weekend, they had dropped to about $3, which he said fits in with the 15 cents per gallon that Perdue anticipated drivers would save.

Townsend couldn't say whether prices would continue to decline.

The statewide price on Tuesday was $2.98.

Meanwhile, lawmakers have been called to Atlanta because they must ratify the gas tax measures. A House committee needed just 10 minutes on Wednesday to endorse the plan. A vote in the full House was scheduled for Thursday.

The state also continued cracking down on gas retailers who have taken advantage of Hurricane Katrina and disruptions in the supply system to jack up their prices.

The Governor's Office of Consumer Affairs said it has notified 20 retailers, mostly in metro Atlanta, they face potential action for overcharging consumers.

Bill Cloud, a spokesman for the agency, wouldn't name the gas stations.

In addition, the state Revenue Department said it has found another 20 gas retailers in the metro area who may have pocketed the savings from the tax moratorium rather than passing it along to consumers.

In both cases, the state potentially can seek to impose civil penalties ranging from $2,000 to $25,000 per incident.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.