Price gouging: Think gas prices are too high in Virginia? Here’s how to report it


PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — With gas distribution issues due to the Colonial Pipeline hack and a shortage of tanker truck drivers, gas stations throughout Virginia and the East Coast are without fuel or seeing long lines and high demand.

Experts are warning against panic-buying and say there is no fuel shortage, just distribution issues. Colonial Pipeline hopes to have its pipeline network, which supplies about 45% of fuel for the East Coast, back running by the end of the week.

With demand higher than normal, Virginia’s price-gouging act is in effect after Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency on Tuesday. The Virginia Post-Disaster Anti-Price Gouging Act prohibits a “supplier” from charging unconscionable prices for “necessary goods and services” such as fuel, water, etc.

Virginia’s average gas price went up 3 cents at the beginning of the week to $2.76, and could go up another 6 or 7 cents this week.

Where can I find gas in Hampton Roads?

Virginia officials say the basic test for price gouging is whether post-disaster prices charged “grossly” exceeds the same or similar goods or services within the same area compared to the 10 days immediately prior to the disaster.

If you think a business is price gouging the cost of fuel, you can file a Motor Fuels price gouging complaint with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) Office of Weights and Measures or with the Office of the Attorney General at or 800-552-9963.

10 On Your Side reached to VDACS to ask how many complaints they have received. Between 8 a.m. on May 11 through 8 a.m. on May 12, they had received 12 price gouging complaints from the following regions:

  • Tidewater – 3
  • Richmond – 1
  • Central Virginia (Charlottesville) – 1
  • Northern Virginia – 3
  • Valley Area (Waynesboro) – 3
  • Southwest Virginia – 1

Stay with WAVY News 10 on air and online for updates.

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