DC Attorney General sues company for alleged price gouging of gasoline

D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine's office is suing Capitol Petroleum Group, alleging the Virginia company illegally raised prices on gasoline to the extent that it meets the legal standard of price gouging during the pandemic emergency.

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The lawsuit filed Thursday says the company sold gasoline from at least 54 gas stations across the District, hiking profit margins from a pre-pandemic level of 44 cents per gallon to 88 cents per gallon during the pandemic.

"CPG during the time of a pandemic doubled it's profit margin, took advantage of consumers," said  Jason Downs, chief deputy attorney general.

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CPG sells gasoline direct to customers at the majority of the stations, but also supplied gasoline to several other gas stations above previous profit margins as well, according to the lawsuit.

Through its attorneys CPG issued the following statement to FOX 5:

"The price gouging allegations of the Attorney General have no merit.  District of Columbia consumers are benefitting from some of the lowest gasoline prices in recent memory.  The retail gasoline prices charged by the defendants to DC motorists  are no higher than those of other retailers in the District of Columbia, and they are some of the lowest gasoline prices charged in the District in decades.  It is unfortunate that the Attorney General has chosen to bring this action at a time when gas station operators in the District are still recovering from the significant drop in gasoline sales that occurred at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic."

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If the AG's office prevails, CPG could be subject to fines of $5000 per instance of price gouging.

Consumer who suspect they've been a victim of price gouging are asked to contact the DC AG's office at 202-442-9828 or consumer.protection@dc.gov.