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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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