A local gas retailer is accused of price gouging, according to a lawsuit filed in D.C.
The Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia said that Capitol Petroleum Group and its affiliate companies gouged prices during the District’s COVID-19 emergency.
“Even as wholesale gas prices dropped when the economy slowed in March and April 2020, CPG unlawfully doubled its profits on each gallon of gas sold to consumers at 54 gas stations in the District,” a news release said.
D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine said the company “took advantage” of consumers instead of “passing the cost savings along to District consumers as required by law.”
The allegations state that before March 2020, Capitol Petroleum Group earned an average of $0.44 in profits per gallon of regular gas and $0.80 per gallon of premium. However, following the emergency declaration on March 11, the company earned an average profit of $0.88 per gallon of regular gas and $1.23 per gallon of premium gas that it sold.
The original emergency declaration that has been extended prohibited price gouging during the coronavirus public health emergency.
The D.C. Attorney General’s Office also accused the company of applying a markup of 149.85% to prices it charged other retailers per gallon of gas during the week of March 22-28, whereas from December 2019 to March 9, 2020, its average markup per gallon was 41.6%.
The District is seeking a court order to stop the company from violating D.C.’s price gouging and consumer protection laws, relief for consumers who were charged unfairly high prices and civil penalties.
Capitol Petroleum Group affiliates named in the lawsuit include Anacostia Realty LLC and DAG Petroleum Suppliers LLC. Capitol Petroleum group is based in Virginia.
This is the second lawsuit Racine’s office has filed against a D.C. business for price gouging during the pandemic. The first was against Helen Mart, a store in Ward 7.
“Price gouging is illegal in the District, and companies may not unlawfully increase their profit margins at the expense of District residents during an emergency,” Racine said.
The penalty for price gouging in D.C. is $5,000 per violation.
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