With the threat of gasoline costing $5 a gallon this summer, the Connecticut Legislature working in a bipartisan fashion, passed a proposal that will help provide relief at the pump and protect consumers from profiteering and price gouging by big oil wholesalers.
The plan strengthens protections against price gouging, cracks down on oil profiteering, places a circuit breaker on the gross receipts tax, and requires that savings are passed along to consumers.
This legislation will give some relief at the pump, but more importantly it puts big oil companies on notice that we won’t stand for price gouging and profiteering. High gas prices are burdening hard-working families and threatening to derail the economic recovery. We need to ensure any savings from this plan go to consumers and not to the pockets of big oil.
1. Legislatively declares a 30-day period of petroleum market scrutiny by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the Department of Consumer Protection in anticipation of further wholesale price spikes.
2. Amends the petroleum profiteering statute (C.G.S. § 42-234 et seq.) to provide for investigations of price gouging whenever the wholesale price rises by 15 percent or more within 90 days (the wholesale price has increased 40 cents – more than 15 percent—in the past 90 days).
3. Grants the commissioner of the Department of Consumer Protection authority to impose Unfair Trade Practice fines on large gasoline wholesalers and distributors who are in violation of profiteering laws.
4. Puts a permanent circuit breaker on the gross receipts tax (GRT) on motor fuels at $3.00/per gallon wholesale, upon passage.
5. Prohibits oil wholesalers and distributors (those who pay the gross receipts tax) from passing on anything purporting to be based on the tax for the portion of any sales price over $3.00 per gallon.
6. Institutes similar profiteering protections in regards to home heating oil.
We've taken some steps at the state level, now we need help from our federal colleagues to take on some of the issues outside of Connecticut.