A new law in Louisiana, which is intended to provide additional protections for consumers from being gouged at the fuel pump, takes effect Saturday, Aug. 15.
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that nearly 30 states have some type of price-gouging ban with still others pursuing their own rules. The laws in many of those states are triggered by emergency declarations.
Louisiana currently imposes civil fines on merchants who overcharge for goods and services, including fuel, during or in the wake of a declared emergency. The rule allows the state’s attorney general to investigate price-gouging complaints at the retail level.
Gov. Bobby Jindal signed a bill into law this summer to extend the price-gouging ban to include refineries and other wholesalers.
Sen. David Heitmeier, D-New Orleans, said applying the price-gouging ban solely to retailers proved problematic around the time of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. While most of the industry “behaved well,” Heitmeier said some wholesalers imposed higher prices on retailers. As a result, those retailers were forced to pass on the increases to customers.
Existing Louisiana law doesn’t cover those actions under its price-gouging protections. The new law closes that loophole.
To view other legislative activities of interest for Louisiana in 2009, click here.
– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor
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