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Harder Introduces Bill to Make Gas Price Gouging Illegal

WASHINGTON – After today’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing, “Gouged at the Gas Station: Big Oil and America’s Pain at the Pump,” Rep. Josh Harder will introduce the Gas Price Gouging Prevention Act in the House to help prevent the oil industry from engaging in gas price gouging. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) has introduced companion legislation in the Senate. Central Valley drivers will pay an average of $5.67 per gallon today, almost $2 more per gallon than the same time last year, according to AAA.

While gas prices climbed to record highs last year, the largest oil and gas companies saw soaring profits of $174 billion. In 2021, Exxon Mobile’s revenues increased by 57%, Chevron’s profits increased by 84%, Shell’s profits increased by 49%, and BP’s profits increased by 45%. In a March 8th address, President Joe Biden warned oil and gas companies against excessive price gouging.

“While families in the Valley are struggling to get by, big oil companies and their multimillionaire executives are raking in record profits. It’s price gouging, it’s crushing our community, and it has to stop,” said Rep. Harder. “Today I’m proud to introduce the Gas Price Gouging Prevention Act to make it illegal to rip off our drivers at the pump. Oil executives don’t need another yacht, but our families sure need a break.”

Specifically, the Gas Price Gouging Prevention Act would make it illegal under the Federal Trade Commission Act for any person to sell gasoline, at wholesale or retail, during a period of an international crisis affecting the oil markets, at a price that is unconscionably excessive and indicates that the seller is taking unfair advantage of the circumstances to increase prices unreasonably. The bill allows the FTC to charge a criminal penalty of up to $500 million and a civil penalty of up to $100 million for price gouging.

Rep. Harder has been leading the charge to tackle gas prices for months. In November, he urged leaders in Sacramento to suspend any future increases in the tax. In December, he wrote directly to Governor Newsom urging him to immediately cut the gas tax and published an op-ed in Fox Business titled I’m a Democrat and it’s time for our government to stop making gas more expensive. In February, he introduced legislation to suspend the federal gas tax. And last week he introduced legislation to send drivers $500 gas price rebate checks.

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