US House passes bill authorizing President to stop fuel sales at ‘unconscionably excessive’ price
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US House passes bill authorizing President to stop fuel sales at ‘unconscionably excessive’ price

The US House of Representatives Thursday passed the Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act by a vote of 217 – 207.

Representative Kim Schrier (D-WA) and Katie Porter (D-CA) introduced the Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevent Act earlier this month to address increased prices of gasoline and home fuel prices. The bill would allow the President to issue an emergency proclamation to prevent consumer fuel companies from selling fuel at an “unconscionably excessive” price and from exploiting  “the circumstances related to an energy emergency to increase prices unreasonably.” Under the legislation, such a proclamation may not last for more than thirty consecutive days and “may include a period of time not to exceed 1 week before a reasonably foreseeable emergency.”

The bill comes as US gas prices hit the highest recorded average price for regular unleaded gasoline at $4.593, according to AAA. Last year, the national average gas price was $3.043 for regular unleaded gasoline.

In a statement, Schrier explained:

Gas prices in my neighborhood were already high at $5 [per] gallon. Now, for no apparent reason, prices are up another 10% in the last week, at $5.50 [per] gallon. Meanwhile, neither the price of a barrel of oil nor the cost of refining have changed appreciably. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) needs to have the power to investigate and crack down when there is evidence of real gouging.

The bill must pass the US Senate before going to President Joe Biden for approval.