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Drivers in Prince William County scramble to fill up gas tanks, as stations begin to run dry in May 2021.

Gas stations in Lake Ridge and Arlington have reached settlements with Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring over price-gouging accusations during the Colonial Pipeline shutdown last spring.

The stations, Arlington-based George Mason Auto Service and  Liberty Gas, Lake-Ridge-based Exxon at the Glen and Richmond-based Gaskins Road Mobil violated the Virginia Post-Disaster Anti-Price Gouging Act, Herring said in a news release.

"The gas stations charged unconscionable prices on gasoline, a necessary good, after a state of emergency was declared on May 11, 2021 in response to the temporary shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline," the release said. The crisis led to a brief shortage of gas and long lines at service stations across a large portion of the East Coast.

Read more from Herring's release:

Exxon at the Glen

Herring’s complaint alleges that, on May 12, 2021, Exxon at the Glen raised the prices of premium gasoline to $4.599, which represented a 34.1% increase over what it was charging during the ten days immediately preceding the state of emergency. 

Under the terms of the settlement, Exxon at the Glen agrees to be enjoined from engaging in further violations of Virginia’s price gouging law and the Virginia Consumer Protection Act. The business also has agreed to pay $2,000 in civil penalties and attorneys’ fees, and also has disgorged more than $999.74 in excess profits made from the offending sales, which can be used for consumer restitution. Consumers who purchased premium gasoline from Exxon at the Glen on May 12 should file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section to be considered for reimbursement of excess charges they paid.

The settlement, in the form of an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance, has been filed for approval with the Prince William County Circuit Court.

George Mason Liberty Gas

Herring’s complaint alleges that, on May 15, 16, and 17, 2021, George Mason Liberty Gas significantly raised the prices of regular unleaded and premium gasoline. On those days, the gas station charged average prices of $3.80 per gallon for regular unleaded gasoline and $4.300 for premium fuel, which represented, respectively, 30.36% and 20.15% increases over what the gas station was charging during the ten days immediately preceding the declaration of the state of emergency. Because those prices are averages, the Attorney General alleged that they may have climbed even higher during that period. A violation of Virginia’s price gouging law is also a violation of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act.

Under the terms of the settlement, George Mason Liberty Gas agrees to be enjoined from engaging in further violations of Virginia’s price gouging law and the Virginia Consumer Protection Act. The business also has agreed to pay $2,500 in civil penalties and attorneys’ fees, and also has disgorged more than $4,530.02 in excess profits made from the offending sales, which can be used for consumer restitution. Consumers who purchased regular or premium gasoline from George Mason Liberty Gas on May 15, 16, or 17 should file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section to be considered for reimbursement of excess charges they paid.

The settlement, in the form of an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance, has been filed for approval with the Arlington County Circuit Court. 

Gaskins Road Mobil

Herring’s complaint alleges that, on May 11 and 12, 2021, Gaskins Road Mobil raised the prices of all three grades of its gasoline to $3.799 for regular unleaded, $4.199 for midgrade gasoline, and $4.699 for premium gasoline. The increases to those price levels represented 37.6%, 31.2%, and 30.6% increases for regular unleaded, midgrade gasoline, and premium gasoline, respectively.

Under the terms of the settlement, Gaskins Road Mobil agrees to be enjoined from engaging in further violations of Virginia’s price gouging law and the Virginia Consumer Protection Act. The business also has agreed to pay $2,500 in civil penalties and attorneys’ fees, and also will be disgorging more than $3,722.59 in excess profits made from the offending sales, which can be used for consumer restitution. Consumers who purchased gasoline from Gaskins Road Mobil on May 11 or 12 should file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section to be considered for reimbursement of excess charges they paid.

The settlement, in the form of an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance, has been filed for approval with the Henrico County Circuit Court.

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