DLCA: Gas Stations Must Show They Bought New Fuel Before Raising Prices

Gas prices. (Source file photo)

A new order from the Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs sets forth the procedure to be followed by all wholesalers and retailers of gasoline and diesel fuel in the Territory as a per-requisite to increasing their fuel prices.

In essence, stations must show they bought fuel and the price they paid has increased, effective March 19. These are, in effect, price controls under a section of V.I. law that says DLCA’s Consumer Services Administration “may determine the prices and quantities at which all or any article of food and general supplies may be sold by wholesalers, retailers, producers, or manufacturers,” so long as “a reasonable margin of profit is allowed” and “a wholesale price and a retail price is set for each item.” The order does not itself set any prices but asserts authority to decide when prices increase.

The order says all wholesalers of gasoline, gas stations and marine service stations on the islands of St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John can only increase their prices of gasoline and diesel fuel after submitting a written request to DLCA showing the date of delivery, the amount of the proposed increase, and an invoice evidencing the increased prices, and after receiving approval from same; and it is further

Any wholesaler or retailer of gasoline and diesel fuel wishing to further petition the DLCA for an increase above the amount authorized, may do so by presenting invoices and other evidence justifying the proposed increased amount.

According to DLCA, any increase without written authorization will result in a $200 per day fine. The order extends through Sept. 19.

For the Notice to Change Retail Price of Gasoline form and more information, Director of Consumer Affairs, Miguel Tricoche, can be reached at (340) 713.3522 or you may call the Office of the Commissioner at (340) 714.3522 in St. Thomas and (340) 713.3522, St. Croix.