Galvin wants investigation into possible price gouging by gas companies

“They have a right to a profit. They don’t have a right to an exorbitant profit."

Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe, File
Gas, Gas, Gas

Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth Bill Galvin is calling for an investigation into whether gas and oil companies are price gouging, as the costs for consumers soared to record highs on Monday.

“They have a right to a profit. They don’t have a right to an exorbitant profit,” Galvin told WBZ-TV. “Right now, here in Massachusetts, we should be scrutinizing the prices of wholesalers. We should be looking at the price of home heating oil.

“How did you get that price? You’re entitled to a fair profit, you’re not entitled to gouge,” he added.


On Monday, the average price per gallon of regular unleaded gas broke its previous all-time record set in July 2008, soaring to $4.16, according to AAA’s gas price monitoring.

Infrastructure problems brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic are considered the largest force driving the rising prices in the U.S., The Boston Globe reported.

But energy traders are also taking into account bans on Russian oil, in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine, when determining prices.

President Joe Biden, on Tuesday, was reportedly slated to announce a ban on Russian oil imports, which make up roughly 7 percent of the nation’s foreign oil.

Still, Galvin believes suppliers may be taking advantage of the situation by needlessly bumping up prices.

“Not an ounce of fuel that’s being sold here either for heating or gasoline right now was taken out of ground after the invasion of Ukraine. The pricing practices have to be reviewed,” he told WBZ-TV.

The secretary said Massachusetts has “some of the best consumer protection statues in the country.”

“We need to use them. We need to use them now,” Galvin said. “Let’s look at the prices. Let’s go in and examine the books and records of the suppliers and wholesalers. If they have nothing to hide then we’ll know that.”


On Monday, Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey accused gas companies of price gouging, alleging suppliers are “taking advantage of the war in Ukraine to push for more drilling.”

“Here’s a fact you won’t hear on Fox News today,” Markey wrote on Twitter. “Exxon, Chevron, and Conoco made $46 billion in profit in 2021. Now they’re using 40% of those profits for stock buybacks. Big Oil is raking it in.”


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