BUSINESS

Gas station owner accused of price gouging

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The man who owns more than half the gas stations in D.C. maintains he is not guilty of price gouging. Joe Mamo defended himself at a City Council hearing Friday.

(Photo: Associated Press)

A panel of experts laid the blame for sky-high gas prices on Mamo, who owns more than half of the stations in town. “Consumers in D.C. are paying millions of dollars a more a day at the pump because of his strangle hold on the market,” said anti-trust attorney David Balto.

Mamo testified he leases most of his stations to independent operators and they set the price.

“It's not me,” he said. “You have the wrong person under legislative scrutiny here.”

Jon Anderson of AAA Mid-Atlantic argues Mamo supplies the gas to the stations he owns, so he essentially sets the prices.

“Gas prices in the district are more expensive because there is higher profit being taken,” Anderson said.

The city council is considering legislation to prohibit distributors such as Mamo from owning gas stations.

Mamo urged the city council not to pass the legislation that would prohibit distributors from owning gas stations. He said if he is forced to go out of business, a lot of people will lose jobs.

The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded in D.C. is $3.97 Friday, compared to Virginia’s average of $3.56. In Maryland, the average price is $3.70.

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