Local Politician Threatens to File Price Gouging Claims Against Gasoline Retailers Opposing Tax

Michael Giberson

From the Fredericksburg, VA, Free Lance-Star, “GAS-TAX PINCH OR GOUGING?“:

Spotsylvania County Supervisor Hap Connors threatened yesterday to file price-gouging complaints because of a lobbying association’s campaign that blames a Virginia Railway Express tax for increased gas prices.

The county became a member of the commuter rail service Monday and enacted a 2.1 percent tax on wholesale gasoline required for VRE membership. The tax is expected to generate more than $3 million annually.

… The Virginia Petroleum, Convenience and Grocery Association represents 650 retail members operating more than 4,500 convenience and grocery stores with gas pumps across Virginia.

Association spokesman Michael O’Connor said the group made laminated signs for Spotsylvania members that warn county residents they will pay 5 cents more a gallon because of the tax.

“Either the gasoline retailer will have to eat that 5 cents or it is going to be passed on to the consumer,” O’Connor said.

Supervisor Connors sent O’Connor an e-mail yesterday warning that he would file price-gouging complaints if O’Connor did not remove the signs.