NATSO, along with other industry trade groups, sent a letter May 16 to Capitol Hill opposing H.R. 7688 and urging lawmakers to consider all of the market conditions that affect the price of fuel before enacting such legislation.
The fuel retail industry opposes price gouging, which harms the industry as a whole. The price of crude oil is the largest determining factor in the price of gasoline, and price gouging "is simply not a characteristic or driving force of the retail market prices we see today,” the groups wrote.
NATSO further said that most states already have price gouging laws and that duplicative federal and state laws would create confusion and unwarranted risk of legal investigation and expense.
Most states already have laws prohibiting price gouging, each with different triggers and standards for what constitutes an emergency.
Truckstops and travel plazas sell fuel in a highly transparent and competitive market. Like consumers, fuel retailers feels the pain from high fuel costs, since the higher prices customers pay for fuel at retail reflects the higher prices that retailers pay for fuel at wholesale. This high price environment is not optimal, as retail margins get squeezed when fuel prices increase and customers are less likely to make in-store purchases when the price of fuel is so high. Like consumers, the fuel retail industry benefits when there are plentiful fuel supplies and low prices.
The House of Representatives is expected to vote on H.R. 7688 that is designed to combat price gouging specifically in the market for motor fuels. The legislation is unlikely to make it through the Senate and become law.
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