As gas prices shoot up (again), the U.S. House votes against price gouging

It's astounding how every day now seems to bring another report of gas prices on the rise. Today, the national average for regular fuel is $3.227, according to AAA. We can all predict this isn't the top of the charts for gas prices this year, so let's just file this under T for temporary. Also, if we adjust for inflation, gas prices are just a few cents shy of a truly historic "highest price ever," according to NPR.
To follow up with some related news, the Associated Press' H. Josef Hebert writes that the U.S. House of Representatives has taken the bold step of approving legislation yesterday to outlaw gasoline price gouging. The measure passed 284-141, even though there are a lot of problems with the bill. For one, the proposal only goes into effect if the president declares an energy emergency, and it's limited to 30 days. The Senate will look at energy legislation next month, which is also when they debate raising CAFE standards.

Like some of our readers who left comments on the original post, opponents of the gouging bill pointed out the vagueness of the language used to describe the gouging. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, told the AP that, "I don't know what `unconscionably excessive' means."

It may be hard to prove gas companies are charging 'unconscionably excessive' prices for their wares, but $3.23 a gallon is getting to be pretty excessive for people standing at the pump, don't you think? Who wants to guess where we'll see the American national average peak this summer?

[Source: AAA, Associated Press / H. Josef Hebert]

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