Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General
Jason S. Miyares
202 North 9th Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219
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Loudoun County Gas Station to Pay Thousands of Dollars After Gasoline Price Gouging Settlement
~ Lovettsville-based West End Motors will pay more than $6,000 in restitution, which will be made available to reimburse consumers for excess charges they paid during the temporary Colonial Pipeline shutdown~
Richmond, VA – The Office of Attorney General Miyares has secured thousands of dollars for Virginians through a settlement with Lovettsville-based Wheeler & Wheeler Inc. d/b/a West End Motors for alleged significant price increases 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. The Colonial Pipeline supplies gas to many East Coast states.
“Virginia law protects consumers from businesses increasing prices on necessary goods and services during a time of crisis,” said Attorney General Miyares. “I am pleased that my office reached an agreement that will make restitution dollars available for affected consumers. The Consumer Protection Section at the Office of the Attorney General will continue to fight for consumer rights and investigate complaints of alleged price gouging during states of emergency in the Commonwealth.”
Attorney General Miyares’s Complaint alleges that, during the period from May 11 to 14, 2021, West End Motors significantly raised the prices of all three grades of gasoline. On those days, the gas station charged average prices of as much as $3.51 for regular unleaded gasoline, $3.799 for plus (midgrade) gasoline, and $3.999 for premium gasoline. Those highest levels represented, respectively, 23.78%, 20.58%, and 22.22% increases over what the gas station was charging during the ten days immediately preceding the declaration of the state of emergency. Because those prices are averages, the Attorney General alleged that the prices charged may have climbed even higher during that period. The Attorney General further alleged that the increases were not attributable to additional costs incurred by the business in connection with the sale of the gasoline. A violation of Virginia’s price gouging law is also a violation of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act.
Under the terms of the settlement, West End Motors agrees to stop any further violations of Virginia’s price gouging law and the Virginia Consumer Protection Act. The business also has agreed to pay $6,567.53 in restitution for affected consumers and will pay the Commonwealth $1,250 in civil penalties and $1,250 in attorneys’ fees. Consumers should file complaints with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section to receive consideration for reimbursement if they purchased gasoline on May 11, 12 or 14.
The settlement, in the form of an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance, has been filed for approval with the Loudoun County Circuit Court.
If a Virginia consumer suspects they are a victim of price gouging during a declared state of emergency, they can call the Consumer Protection Hotline or download a complaint form from the Attorney General's website and submit it by mail, by fax, or in-person. 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 Miyares’s Consumer Protection Section for information or to file a complaint:
o By phone: (800) 552-9963