"Oil companies need to know that we are watching and that price gougers will be caught."—Sen. Barbara Mikulski
WASHINGTON - As Maryland's average gas price soared to $3 per gallon for the first time this year and the national single-day average reached a record $3.07 per gallon on Monday, Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) promised to fight to give Americans a break at the pump and crack down on gas gouging. Senator Mikulski is a co-sponsor of the Petroleum Consumer Price Gouging Act (S.B. 1263), which creates tough new federal protections to guard against profiteering and market manipulation by oil and gas companies.
"We know people are nervous about rising energy costs and we know what it means to their families. Oil companies need to know that we are watching and that price gougers will be caught," said Senator Mikulski. "People in Maryland and across the country need immediate relief from gasoline price spikes and assurances they are not being gouged as the summer driving season begins."
The Petroleum Consumer Price Gouging Act would empower federal regulators to ensure greater market transparency and go after companies that manipulate oil and gas prices. It would outlaw gas price gouging at all levels, and give the President the authority to declare national energy emergencies during which proven price-gougers would be subject to new fines and criminal penalties.
Twenty-eight states have similar laws, but a federal ban is needed to truly prevent harmful market manipulation. Under the legislation, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) could conduct investigations and fine companies for price gouging. Currently, there are no federal laws on the books that address price gouging for oil and gas.
"America needs affordable gas prices in order to keep rolling. We need to make sure farmers can put fuel in their tractors, that watermen and fishermen can put gasoline in their tanks to go out to do their jobs and we can keep industry and trucks rolling," said Senator Mikulski. "We know that we are facing a crisis. I will continue to stand up for the little guy and will make sure that oil companies are not making excuses and inflating prices at the pump."
Complete Details of Senate Bill 1263 on Library of Congress Thomas Database