Take That, Filthy Gas Station Owners!


Good news, everybody - the House has voted to ban "gas gouging!" Here's the gist of the bill just passed:

Federal Price Gouging Prevention Act - Makes it unlawful for any person to sell crude oil, gasoline, natural gas, or petroleum distillates at a price that: (1) is unconscionably excessive; or (2) indicates the seller is taking unfair advantage unusual market conditions or the circumstances of an emergency to increase prices unreasonably.

Declares unlawful: (1) intentional reporting of false price information concerning wholesale prices of such products; and (2) market manipulation regarding the purchase or sale at wholesale of such products.

Empowers the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and State Attorneys General to enforce this Act.

Sets forth civil and criminal penalties for violations of this Act.

Requires fines and penalties collected under this Act to be deposited in a separate fund in the treasury to be known as the Consumer Relief Trust Fund to provide assistance under the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) administered by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

A new trust fund run by HHS? Nothing but blue skies ahead. (Bush has said he'll veto the bill, sadly.)