High Gas Prices in the Eastern Panhandle

High Gas Prices in the Eastern Panhandle

"Times are hard, people don't have money and gas prices don't seem to fall in line with people's needs and demands. Yes, you have irate customers all the time, and rightfully so," said Alberuni Kidwai, owner of the H-Mart gas station in Martinsburg.
EASTERN PANHANDLE, W.Va. - When was the last time you filled up your tank?

If you've stopped by a gas station in West Virginia, you may have noticed gas prices are considerably higher there.

In Jefferson and Berkeley counties, gas prices are higher than the rest of West Virginia, also higher than the surrounding four-state area.

And it's something State Senator Herb Snyder, (D) -Jefferson, calls unacceptable.

"West Virginia’s losing millions. Millions of dollars, because we're driving gas purchasers across the state line to buy the gas," said Senator Snyder.

Snyder said the federal gas tax is 18.4, but it's West Virginia’s gas tax that puts pump prices higher than the rest of four state area; about $0.02 more than Pennsylvania, around $0.11 more than Maryland, and almost $0.15 more than Virginia.

But he said it's not the gas tax that's the problem.

"There's a practice called zone pricing which today is not illegal in west Virginia, but it is illegal in New York. The Federal Trades Commission has looked at this twice, it doesn't have a policy on it, but it is a real practice that wholesalers use in setting the price of gas according to the region of where it's going," said Senator Snyder.

He's working to pass a bill, mirroring New York State's, where zone, or predatory, pricing would be illegal, something that would help gas purchasers as well as local gas station owners.

"Times are hard, people don't have money and gas prices don't seem to fall in line with people's needs and demands. Yes, you have irate customers all the time, and rightfully so," said Alberuni Kidwai, owner of the H-Mart gas station in Martinsburg.

This is a bipartisan bill that's already got some traction. West Virginia state officials expect this to be on top of the list when the new legislative session starts.

"Something's wrong. Clearly something is wrong, and we're going to get to the bottom of it," Senator Snyder said.

There's also a second bill West Virginia State Senators are working on. It's part of a West Virginia code that allows gas retailers to charge an extra three percent to make a profit, and officials are looking to get rid of this code.
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