Expert: Skyrocketing gas prices not gouging, just economics

Gas prices
Posted at 9:17 AM, Mar 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-09 12:40:45-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Prices at the gas pump have hit a record high in Virginia, and it is leaving some residents concerned about price gouging.

The pain at the pump is being felt by many in Central Virginia. Richmond averaged a price of $4.11 per gallon on Tuesday, but some prices were as high as $4.29, according to Gas Buddy. That increase marks a 14-cent jump overnight from $3.97 a gallon on Monday.

“I could definitely go for some cheaper gas,” said Ian McColga.

Joel Stacy called it ridiculous, saying he’s not enjoying it, but he doesn’t have a choice.

Radford University’s Dean of Economics said that pain is not on purpose. He said what drivers in Central Virginia are seeing is not price gouging.

“That’s simple economics at work,” he said.

He believes there is very little evidence companies are doing it for the sake of price gouging.

There are protections for gouging in Virginia. Per the law, Governor Glenn Youngkin must declare a state of emergency for it to go into place.

The attorney general's office would then review complaints. They determine if the price grossly exceeds the price charged for the same goods within an area, according to the attorney general's office.

The governor’s office did not get back to CBS 6 as of Tuesday night on whether they are considering declaring the state of emergency.

“I have to deal with it. I can afford it now, but if it climbs any higher I may not be able to afford it and have to get another truck,” said Dwayne Little.

The Better Business Bureau is reminding drivers to keep their eyes open, and to not get gas somewhere prices don’t seem consistent.

North Carolina's AG spokesperson told News 3 that their office has received several price-gouging complaints.

"Our office has received complaints. We’re reviewing them, but there’s no set line at which we determine price gouging. Determining whether something is price gouging means look at a number of factors including production costs, profit margin, comparisons to other product prices from the seller or other sellers. Other factors also include fluctuations in international markets, the cost of crude oil, etc. Hearing from North Carolinians about any price concerns they have will help us reach out to these companies and get a better idea of what drives these prices, so we continue to ask people to file complaints with our office at or 1-877-5-NO-SCAM."

To file a complaint in Virginia, click here.

To track the cheapest gas prices in the area, click here.