RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — As American wallets could increasingly wear thin with high gas prices, Virginia congressional leaders are pressuring domestic and international fuel suppliers to help. Despite the consensus for relief, there are partisan disagreements on what exactly should be done.
While Virginia’s average gas prices have increased by 66 cents over the past week, and 82 cents over the past month according to AAA, President Biden announced a ban on Russian oil imports– an attempt to further cut off Russia from American economic ties.
“Those funds go directly to finance the Russian military efforts and the Russian government,” US Senator Mark Warner told reporters Tuesday.
Warner also suggested the Biden administration look into releasing the country’s petroleum reserve.
Warner, and US House colleagues, Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger and Republican Rep. Rob Wittman agree that American oil companies should increase their supply to try and help cut costs.
But there’s disagreement from the two congressional members of who beyond the US borders should help.
“[Our] counterparts in Saudi Arabia that have long been an oil-producing nation, are underproducing,” Spanberger said.
Wittman suggested the US look towards the north for assistance.
“I would look at our neighborhood first before I go to Saudi Arabia. I would go to Canada, ask Canada, ‘Can you do more?'” he said.
After requesting an interview, 8News received a statement from Democratic Rep. Donald McEachin that said, “The United States has announced it is releasing more than 90 million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve this fiscal year.”
The question of when an end to rising gas prices may be in sight remains unanswered, and a new one arises: How can Virginians ensure they are not being stiffed by price gougers?
Attorney General Jason Miyares’ Office urges people who are suspicious, to report potential price gouging. However, a spokesperson acknowledged they cannot go after price gougers because neither the governor nor the president has imposed an executive order.
Therefore, companies are not pressured to abstain from “charging unconscionable prices” for “necessary goods and services” –such as motor fuels– which the Office of the Attorney General defines as: “Goods or services for which demand does, or is likely to, increase as a result of the disaster.”