MD House Economic Matters Committee Kills Cheap Gas Bill

"The State of Maryland decided to involve itself in consumer matters, but in the case of gasoline, the regulation benefits the regulated industry (the vast bulk of gas retailers), while it harms consumers by keeping gas prices higher than they would otherwise be." --John Berthoud, Ph.D., President of the National Taxpayers Union

(Annapolis, MD) Today in Annapolis, members of the House Economic Matters Committee voted to kill House Bill 127, which would have provided for true competition in gasoline pricing in Maryland. According to John Berthoud, Ph.D., President of the National Taxpayers Union, "Delegate Miller's bill would remove the price floor for retail sales of gasoline." In testimony before the Committee, Berthoud further stated, "in 2001 the Legislature enacted a law to prohibit retailers from selling gas below a statewide average 'wholesale price.' Maryland's Comptroller is charged with investigating alleged violators (i.e., retailers whose prices are 'too low') and can punish them by revoking their registration."

Delegate Warren Miller, the bill's sponsor, stated, "It's unfortunate that the committee chose to protect Exxon and BP franchisees instead of Maryland consumers of gasoline." Joining Delegate Miller in support of the bill were Delegates Joanne Parrott of Harford County and Rick Impallaria of Baltimore and Harford Counties.

The vote was 15-3 unfavorable.

Favorable: Miller, Impallaria, Parrott

Unfavorable: Burns, Conroy, Doory, Feldman, Haddaway, Jameson, Kirk, Krebs, Krysiak, Love, McHale, Minnick, Moe, Trueschler, Vaughn

Absent: Walkup, Wood

Excused: Harrison, Taylor

Chairman Davis was present but did not vote.

Related Links:

House Bill 127:

Statement of John Berthoud, Ph.D., President of the National Taxpayers Union, before the Economic Matters Committee Maryland House of Delegates, Annapolis, Maryland on HB 127, Business Regulation – Motor Fuel – Below Cost Sales:

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