West Virginia Gas Prices Shattering Records

Date: Aug. 16, 2005
Location: Beckley, WV

West Virginia Gas Prices Shattering Records
August 16, 2005

BECKLEY, W.VA. - With state and national gas prices setting new record-highs on a daily basis, West Virginia residents are fuming-with good reason, according to U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV).

"For four months we have been telling the administration to get a handle on this. And for four months we have seen nothing but a whole lot of nothing," Rahall said.

West Virginia's statewide average price of regular-brand gasoline stands at $2.484 a gallon, the same as the average national price. The average price for all three grades rose nearly 20 cents to $2.53 in the three weeks ending Aug. 12.

"What happened to the strong promises made at the beginning of the Iraq War?" Rahall questioned. "Secretary Rumsfeld said in 2002 that oil would be flowing, creating more world supply and revenues from Iraq would bring close to $100 billion over the course of two or three years. Well, it's three years down the road and Iraqis are importing gasoline. They are standing in line for oil. Just like there were no weapons of mass destruction, there were no oil reserves in that desert. We have been cheated and we continue to be cheated every time we pull up to the pump."

Since the beginning of the gas price crisis, Rahall has laid out numerous suggestions that would help lower prices. He urged the President to use the oil in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to increase supply in America and encouraged the investigations of alleged price gouging by big oil companies. In addition, Rahall advised the President to honor his campaign promise and pressure the OPEC Nations to increase production and lower prices. Thus far, Rahall's recommendations and those of his Democratic colleagues have fallen on deaf ears.

"We now find ourselves in an escalating crisis that, had it been dealt with quickly and sensibly, could have perhaps been resolved months ago," Rahall said. "The same administration that cut taxes for the wealthy is now lining the corporate coffers of gas companies already making billions at the expense of hard-working West Virginians."

Without action from the administration or the major party in Congress, Rahall sees no end in sight to the high gas prices facing West Virginians. While prices are expected to drop slightly following Labor Day, the decline would not be significant. Rahall remains committed to his call on the administration to take action to lower gasoline prices in West Virginia.

"It's no longer about being able to take that vacation or that drive in the country," Rahall said. "Commuters are scraping to get to work every day and at the end of the week these same workers are pulling pennies together to pay for food at higher prices. This is truly one of those situations where I really, really wish I hadn't been right."