(TRENTON) – A measure sponsored by Assembly Democrats Wayne P. DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex) and Benjie E. Wimberly (D-Passaic/Bergen) calling on the New Jersey Attorney General to investigate possible price-fixing in the sale of motor fuels in New Jersey was approved Thursday by the Assembly.
The resolution (AR-15) urges the Attorney General of New Jersey to undertake an investigation of whether price-fixing in the sale of motor fuels is responsible for the escalation and fluctuation of motor fuel prices in this state from January 2009 to the present time, and to report the results of the investigation to the governor and Legislature at the earliest possible date.
“The gas price fluctuations raise serious concerns that merit looking into. Nowadays you never know what you will encounter at the gas station, with prices fluctuating wildly from day to day. What’s causing this? This resolution calls on the New Jersey Attorney General to help us answer that question,” said DeAngelo. “These dramatic increases have negatively impacted the economy of our country and our economy here at home. New Jersey residents have felt the sting of exorbitant gas prices, particularly residents of lower means and those living on fixed incomes. We owe it to these residents to look into whether any foul play is to blame for these volatile increases at the pump.”
The resolutions notes how exorbitant gas price increases during the past two years have raised the specter that petroleum companies and speculators involved in the buying and selling of motor fuels are conspiring to increase profits, fix prices, and create artificial shortages at the expense of the public.
“Soaring gas prices make for painful trips to the gas station. Depending on how much time you spend on the road, you can spend hundreds of dollars a month filling your gas tank,” said Wimberly. “No one wants to spend that kind of money, especially if it’s going to companies that are deliberately manipulating gas prices to stuff their pockets. It is incumbent that we look into and figure out whether these increases are legitimate or fabrications. I’m certain most drivers would like to know too.”
The national price of regular unleaded gasoline during September 2012 averaged about $3.85 a gallon; which was substantially higher than the $2.09 a gallon that consumers paid on average for regular unleaded gasoline between 2000 and 2009. The average price of regular gasoline in the United States in January 2010 was approximately $0.84 higher than the gasoline prices of January 2009.
Following the recent unrest in the Middle East, the average price of regular gasoline in the United States in September 2012 was about $1.14 higher than the average price of gas in September 2010, with prices in New Jersey averaging $3.85, up from a price of $2.71 two years earlier.
The resolution was approved 74-4-1 by the full Assembly and now heads to the Senate for further consideration.