Undercurrent

Gas price gouging? If you see something, say something.

By: - March 9, 2022 7:19 am

(Photo: Pixabay)

“If you suspect or have information about a retailer committing price gouging, I encourage you to file a complaint with my office,” Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford said in a statement about rising gas prices Tuesday.

Ford noted that Nevada lawmakers last year passed legislation strengthening Nevada’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

“We’re ready to enforce Nevada’s laws to protect consumers,” the Democrat said. “While most retailers are increasing prices due to disruptions in the supply chain, I will not allow any bad actors to artificially inflate prices of basic needs to rip off Nevadans trying to drive to work or to be with loved ones.”

Complaints can be filed with the Nevada AG’s office here.

Most states have laws against price gouging, and attorneys general and other officials in several of them have similarly been reminding people – and businesses – that price gouging is a crime.

Also Tuesday, Nevada Democratic Rep. Dina Titus wrote a letter to Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Lina Khan, urging the FTC “to utilize…all available options under the law to ensure consumers are protected at the pump.”

Historically, price gouging has often been difficult to police, prove and prosecute. Although as Titus notes in her letter, North Carolina’s attorney general had some success prosecuting gas stations after the ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline on the east coast last year. And price gouging enforcement not only against gas stations but other businesses has seen an uptick recently.

Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren and other critics have contended that oil companies themselves have been exploiting consumers and price gouging.

When he announced a U.S. ban on Russian oil imports Tuesday, President Joe Biden, in a message directed “to the oil and gas companies and to the finance firms that back them,” said Vladimir Putin’s “war against the people of Ukraine is causing prices to rise. We get that. That’s self-evident. But…it’s no excuse to exercise excessive price increases or padding profits or any kind of effort to exploit this situation or  American consumers.”

“Russia’s aggression is costing us all, and it’s no time for profiteering or price gouging,” Biden said.

Nevada gas prices averaged $4.77 as of Wednesday, according to the AAA tracker.

After hitting $130 per barrel earlier this week, oil was trading Wednesday morning at $177.70. 

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Hugh Jackson
Hugh Jackson

Hugh Jackson was editor of the Las Vegas Business Press, senior editor at the Las Vegas CityLife weekly newspaper, daily political commentator on the Las Vegas NBC affiliate, and author of the Las Vegas Gleaner political blog. Prior to moving to Las Vegas, he was a reporter and editor at the Casper (Wyoming) Star-Tribune.

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