Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General
202 North Ninth Street
For media inquiries only, contact:
Charlotte Gomer, Director of Communication
Mobile: (804) 512-2552
ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING HOLDS TWO GAS STATIONS ACCOUNTABLE FOR PRICE GOUGING
~ Both gas stations allegedly charged unconscionable prices on gas during the Colonial Pipeline Emergency; Waynesboro Marathon will pay nearly $4,000 in fees and restitution and Springfield-based Interstate Fuel will pay nearly $19,000 in fees and restitution ~
RICHMOND – Attorney General Mark R. Herring is holding two gas stations accountable for alleged price gouging of gasoline during the Colonial Pipeline emergency in the spring of 2021. Attorney General Herring has reached settlements with Terry Singh Corp. d/b/a Waynesboro Marathon and Springfield-based Tahir and Sons LLC d/b/a Interstate Fuel LLC (Interstate Fuel) for alleged violations of the Virginia Post-Disaster Anti-Price Gouging Act relating to allegations that the gas stations charged unconscionable prices on gasoline, a necessary good, after a state of emergency was declared on May 11, 2021 in response to the temporary shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline, which supplies motor fuels and other petroleum-based products to a large portion of the east coast.
Attorney General Herring has also taken other enforcement actions regarding price gouging following the Colonial Pipeline emergency. Additionally, he has taken enforcement actions against price gouging in relation to the state of emergency declaration in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The sad reality is that bad actors will take advantage of their fellow Virginians during times of crisis or emergency just to make an extra buck,” said Attorney General Herring. “My Consumer Protection Section will continue to monitor and investigate any complaints we receive of alleged price gouging in the Commonwealth. Businesses should know that, if they choose to participate in price gouging practices, they will be held accountable – price gouging will not be tolerated in Virginia.”
Attorney General Herring’s complaint alleges that, on May 11 – 12, 2021, Waynesboro Marathon significantly raised the prices of regular unleaded and midgrade gasoline. By May 12th, the gas station was charging as much as $3.99 per gallon for regular unleaded gasoline; the increase to that price point represented a 45% increase over what the station was charging before the disaster occurred. Similar increases were noted on midgrade gasoline, where average prices increased more than 32%. A violation of Virginia’s price gouging law is also a violation of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act.
Under the terms of the settlement, Waynesboro Marathon agrees to be enjoined from engaging in further violations of Virginia’s price gouging law and the Virginia Consumer Protection Act. The business also has agreed to pay $2,500 in civil penalties and attorneys’ fees, and also has disgorged more than $1,394.15 in excess profits made from the offending sales, which can be used for consumer restitution. Consumers who purchased regular or midgrade gasoline from Waynesboro Marathon on or around May 11th and 12th should file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section to be considered for reimbursement of excess charges they paid.
The settlement, in the form of an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance, has been filed for approval with the Waynesboro City Circuit Court.
This settlement resolves a lawsuit that Attorney General Herring filed in August 2021, alleging that this gas station raised its prices of regular unleaded gasoline by as much as 33.4% during the declared emergency. Under the terms of the settlement, Interstate Fuel agrees to be enjoined from engaging in further violations of Virginia’s price gouging law and the Virginia Consumer Protection Act. The business will disgorge $15,166.75 in excess profits made from the offending sales, and also has agreed to pay $3,500 in civil penalties and attorneys’ fees. Consumers who purchased regular unleaded gasoline from Interstate Fuel on or around May 13, 2021 should file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section to be considered for reimbursement of excess charges they paid.
The settlement, in the form of a Consent Judgment, has been filed for approval with the Fairfax County Circuit Court.
Attorney General Herring’s Anti-Price Gouging Work
During Governor Northam’s state of emergency that was issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Virginia Attorney General’s Office received more than 500 complaints and e-mails alleging possible price gouging activity and sent more than 150 investigative letters to businesses. Investigation of these complaints largely revealed that many price increases occurred further up the supply chain with manufacturers or distributors that were beyond the reach of the state’s price gouging laws, and this prompted Attorney General Herring to successfully seek amendments to the state’s price gouging law during the 2020 General Assembly special session.
Additionally, in April 2020, Attorney General Herring led a national effort to address price gouging in the PPE supply chain, urging 3M as one of the largest manufacturers of PPE, particularly masks, to do more to address price gouging within its supply and distribution chains that was causing hospitals and healthcare providers to pay exorbitant prices for PPE.
If a Virginia consumer suspects they are a victim of price gouging, they can call the Consumer Protection Hotline or download a complaint form from the Attorney General's website and submit it in-person, by mail, or by fax. Consumers are encouraged to keep any relevant documentation and submit copies with their complaint. If consumers believe they are a victim of price gouging specific to motor fuel they should file complaints with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Consumers can contact Attorney General Herring's Consumer Protection Section for information or to file a complaint:
- By phone: (800) 552-9963
- Online Contact Form/Online Complaint Form
# # #