Proposed ordinance will force gas stations to post prices

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla.,None - Orange County leaders could force gas stations that many people have labeled "tourist traps"  to advertise their sky-high prices, WFTV learned on Monday.

County officials said nearly 1,000 people have complained to the Better Business Bureau about several gas stations near the theme parks.

WFTV found one station on State Road 535 charging $4.55 a gallon and the price was not posted. That's higher than the average price of gas in all of Florida and every other state in the country, WFTV was told.

The county said it wants to fine the stations, which do not post the prices, up to $5,000 a day.

WFTV found four gas stations, including a Mobile outside of Disney World that did not have the prices posted along the road

No one at the Mobil gas station on State Road 535 and Interstate 4 answered WFTV's questions as to why they will not post their prices on its visible sign at the edge of the road.

Customers do not find out how high the gas prices are until they get to the pump. 

If gas stations do not comply with the new ordinance being pushed by Commissioner Scott Boyd, they will have to answer to the county.

Boyd said tourists feel like they're being gouged.

"My understanding with the Better Business Bureau is they've got at least a few hundred to close to 1,000 or so complaints; what's interesting is complaints from all over the world, not just here locally," Boyd said.

"Have you ever paid $4.45 a gallon for gas?" WFTV reporter Daralene Jones asked.

 "Never, never, and I'm from New York," tourist, Arial Cartagano said.

The county ordinance mirrors an ordinance that Orlando passed last year.

Boyd said what frustrates him the most is the response given to tourists who complain to gas stations about the high prices.

"It's a free market, and that's how much we want to charge for it," said Boyd.

The ordinance could be approved at the County Commission meeting on Tuesday.

If the ordinance is passed, the gas stations will have 90 days to get the prices up on the signs along the road.