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H.R.1252 - Federal Price Gouging Prevention Act
To protect consumers from price-gouging of gasoline and other fuels, and for other purposes.
|Version||Word Count||Changes From Previous Version||Percent Change|
|Introduced in House||2,468||n/a||n/a|
|Engrossed in House||1,890||82||66%|
|Referred in Senate||1,887||5 Show Changes Hide Changes||2%|
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May 24, 2007
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
SEC. 2. UNCONSCIONABLE PRICING OF GASOLINE AND OTHER PETROLEUM DISTILLATES DURING EMERGENCIES.
(1) IN GENERAL- It shall be unlawful for any person to sell, at wholesale or at retail in an area and during a period of an energy emergency, gasoline or any other petroleum distillate covered by a proclamation issued under paragraph (2) at a price that--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(A) IN GENERAL- The President may issue an energy emergency proclamation for any area within the jurisdiction of the United States, during which the prohibition in paragraph (1) shall apply. The proclamation shall state the geographic area covered, the gasoline or other petroleum distillate covered, and the time period that such proclamation shall be in effect.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(i) may not apply for a period of more than 30 consecutive days, but may be renewed for such consecutive periods, each not to exceed 30 days, as the President determines appropriate; andCommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(A) whether the amount charged by such person for the applicable gasoline or other petroleum distillate at a particular location in an area covered by a proclamation issued under paragraph (2) during the period such proclamation is in effect--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(i) grossly exceeds the average price at which the applicable gasoline or other petroleum distillate was offered for sale by that person during the 30 days prior to such proclamation;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(ii) grossly exceeds the price at which the same or similar gasoline or other petroleum distillate was readily obtainable in the same area from other competing sellers during the same period;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(iii) reasonably reflected additional costs, not within the control of that person, that were paid, incurred, or reasonably anticipated by that person, or reflected additional risks taken by that person to produce, distribute, obtain, or sell such product under the circumstances; andCommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(B) whether the quantity of gasoline or other petroleum distillate the person produced, distributed, or sold in an area covered by a proclamation issued under paragraph (2) during a 30-day period following the issuance of such proclamation increased over the quantity that that person produced, distributed, or sold during the 30 days prior to such proclamation, taking into account usual seasonal demand variations.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(b) False Pricing Information- It shall be unlawful for any person to report to a Federal agency information related to the wholesale price of gasoline or other petroleum distillates with actual knowledge or knowledge fairly implied on the basis of objective circumstances that such information is false or misleading.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(1) the term `wholesale', with respect to sales of gasoline or other petroleum distillates, means either truckload or smaller sales of gasoline or petroleum distillates where title transfers at a product terminal or a refinery, and dealer tank wagon sales of gasoline or petroleum distillates priced on a delivered basis to retail outlets; andCommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(2) the term `retail', with respect to sales of gasoline or other petroleum distillates, includes all sales to end users such as motorists as well as all direct sales to other end users such as agriculture, industry, residential, and commercial consumers.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 3. ENFORCEMENT BY THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION.
(a) Enforcement by FTC- A violation of section 2 shall be treated as a violation of a rule defining an unfair or deceptive act or practice prescribed under section 18(a)(1)(B) of the Federal Trade Commission Act (
(1) IN GENERAL- Notwithstanding the penalties set forth under the Federal Trade Commission Act, any person who violates this Act with actual knowledge or knowledge fairly implied on the basis of objective circumstances shall be subject to the following penalties:CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(2) METHOD- The penalties provided by paragraph (1) shall be obtained in the same manner as civil penalties obtained under section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (
(B) the court shall take into consideration, among other factors, the seriousness of the violation and the efforts of the person committing the violation to remedy the harm caused by the violation in a timely manner.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 4. CRIMINAL PENALTIES.
(b) Enforcement- The criminal penalty provided by subsection (a) may be imposed only pursuant to a criminal action brought by the Attorney General or other officer of the Department of Justice.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 5. ENFORCEMENT AT RETAIL LEVEL BY STATE ATTORNEYS GENERAL.
(a) In General- A State, as parens patriae, may bring a civil action on behalf of its residents in an appropriate district court of the United States to enforce the provisions of section 2(a) of this Act, or to impose the civil penalties authorized by section 3(b)(1)(B), whenever the attorney general of the State has reason to believe that the interests of the residents of the State have been or are being threatened or adversely affected by a violation of this Act or a regulation under this Act, involving a retail sale.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(b) Notice- The State shall serve written notice to the Federal Trade Commission of any civil action under subsection (a) prior to initiating such civil action. The notice shall include a copy of the complaint to be filed to initiate such civil action, except that if it is not feasible for the State to provide such prior notice, the State shall provide such notice immediately upon instituting such civil action.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(d) Construction- For purposes of bringing any civil action under subsection (a), nothing in this section shall prevent the attorney general of a State from exercising the powers conferred on the attorney general by the laws of such State to conduct investigations or to administer oaths or affirmations or to compel the attendance of witnesses or the production of documentary and other evidence.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(3) a person who participated with the defendant in an alleged violation that is being litigated in the civil action may be joined in the civil action without regard to the residence of the person.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(f) Limitation on State Action While Federal Action Is Pending- If the Federal Trade Commission has instituted a civil action or an administrative action for violation of this Act, no State attorney general, or official or agency of a State, may bring an action under this subsection during the pendency of that action against any defendant named in the complaint of the Federal Trade Commission or the other agency for any violation of this Act alleged in the complaint.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(g) Enforcement of State Law- Nothing contained in this section shall prohibit an authorized State official from proceeding in State court to enforce a civil or criminal statute of such State.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 6. LOW INCOME ENERGY ASSISTANCE.
Amounts collected in fines and penalties under section 3 of this Act shall be deposited in a separate fund in the treasury to be known as the Consumer Relief Trust Fund. To the extent provided for in advance in appropriations Acts, the fund shall be used to provide assistance under the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program administered by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 7. EFFECT ON OTHER LAWS.
(a) Other Authority of Federal Trade Commission- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to limit or affect in any way the Federal Trade Commission's authority to bring enforcement actions or take any other measure under the Federal Trade Commission Act (