Gasoline Price Increases: Federal and State Authority to Limit 'Price Gouging' [April 19, 2022]   [open pdf - 1MB]

From the Document: "Fluctuations in gasoline prices, including supply chain concerns related to international events, have renewed focus on the role of the government in discouraging gasoline 'price gouging,' a term commonly used to refer to sellers increasing prices to take advantage of certain circumstances that trigger decreases in supply, including emergencies. Others have sought to enhance protections against 'price fixing,' whereby sellers collude to raise prices beyond levels dictated by market conditions. Past federal legislative efforts to address gasoline price gouging and price fixing would bar certain commercial practices and mandate studies of gasoline pricing. The federal government has not enacted legislation aimed specifically at price spikes for retail gasoline. However, a majority of states have enacted statutes to curtail price gouging for certain critical goods and services, including gasoline, during emergencies. Some of these statutes bar pricing during emergencies that is considered to be 'unconscionable' or 'excessive' or otherwise violates a subjective standard. Other statutes place a hard cap on prices during periods of emergency based on percentage increases from prices charged for the good or service in question prior to the emergency. These state statutes generally allow sellers to show that the price increases are the result of increased costs rather than simply changes in the marketplace."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R47072
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/
Media Type:
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