Arizona AG: pricing gouging protections needed

| 5/1/2006

With fuel prices in Arizona reaching $3 per gallon or more, state Attorney General Terry Goddard is renewing his call for a law intended to protect consumers from being gouged at the fuel pump.

Goddard said in a recent written statement that the state needs protections from predatory pricing in response to “the sharp run-up in (fuel) prices.”

This is the third time in as many years Goddard has pushed for an anti-gouging rule. The Arizona Legislature has failed to approve any protections.

The National Conference of State Legislatures reports nearly 30 states have some type of price gouging ban. The laws in many of those states are triggered by emergency declarations.

The same declaration is sought by Goddard, which couldn’t be triggered in current circumstances because no state of emergency has been declared by Gov. Janet Napolitano or President Bush.

Goddard is holding out hope that state lawmakers will consider a proposal in the Arizona House that is intended to address gouging concerns. The bill – HB2827 – has remained in three House committees since it was introduced in February.

Republican lawmakers say the bill’s definition of gouging needs more work, The Arizona Republic reported. Others contend the measure is overkill because the market does a good job of regulating prices.