Virginia governor ready to use price-gouging law

| 5/5/2006

With prices at the pump at or near record levels in Virginia, and the outlook not any better for consumers this summer, Gov. Tim Kaine said he would invoke state price-gouging protections if necessary.

“We’ve got price-gouging legislation on the books in Virginia and I’m not going to hesitate to use it,” Kaine told listeners on his monthly call-in show on a Washington, DC, radio station.

Kaine said he would use a strengthened law that takes effect in July. The rule allows the governor, in a time of disaster, to reduce prices of any supplier found to be selling goods or services – including fuel – at unreasonably high prices. The rule could be applied for up to 30 days.

“We can start getting ready and I’m not going to hesitate to seek out and find whether folks are gouging and go after them if they are,” Kaine said on “Washington Post Radio,” The Associated Press reported.

The subject came up amid discussion of booming fuel prices and spot shortages in eastern Virginia as refineries, terminals and fuel stations meet a federal deadline to discontinue certain fuel blends. However, Kaine said he isn’t accusing any fuel stations of gouging.