‘Price Gouging’: Defining Definitions Downward

By May 24, 2007Energy

We previously mentioned this offensive aspect of the anti-price gouging legislation, but it continues to bark our brain. Now tell us how anybody in the fuels industry can know what exactly it is they’re supposed to not do. At the risk criminal prosecution.

From H.R. 1252, our bolding added:

SEC. 2. UNCONSCIONABLE PRICING OF GASOLINE AND OTHER PETROLEUM DISTILLATES DURING EMERGENCIES.

(a) Unconscionable Pricing-

(1) IN GENERAL- It shall be unlawful for any person to sell, at wholesale or at retail in an area and during a period of an energy emergency, gasoline or any other petroleum distillate covered by a proclamation issued under paragraph (2) at a price that–

(A) is unconscionably excessive; and

(B) indicates the seller is taking unfair advantage of the circumstances related to an energy emergency to increase prices unreasonably.

Un..Un..Un…Unbelievable, this piling on of subjective terminology.

Celebrating as we are the 400th anniversary of the rule of law in our nation, perhaps it’s worth reminding lawmakers that statutes should be clear, without ambiguity, enabling authorities to enforce them in a consistent and fair fashion.

“You’re under arrest!”
“What for?”
“Being unfair!”
“What?”
“And unconscionable!”
“Says who?”
“I do!”

That is not the rule of law. It is, however, the essence of H.R. 1252.