by Benjamin Yount
Wisconsin’s governor is warning gas stations in the state not to raise prices too high.
His new executive order, however, is unlikely to make gas any cheaper.
Gov. Tony Evers on Tuesday signed an executive order forbidding price gouging.
“This emergency order will help prevent bad actors from taking advantage of Wisconsin drivers as they fill up the tank to get to work, school, supplies and resources for their businesses, or get their product to market,” the governor said in a statement.
Evers’ order declares that “a period of abnormal economic disruption” exists in Wisconsin, and bans gas stations from hiking prices more than 15% above the highest price in the state.
AAA on Tuesday said the average price for a gallon of regular gas in Wisconsin is $4.82.
But the state’s Petroleum Marketers said local gas stations are not the one responsible for high prices.
“A myriad of factors impacts the price consumers pay at the pump, including: the cost of crude oil; federal/state taxes; boutique fuel requirements; and credit card swipe fees which remain the highest expense after labor for gas station owners,” the Wisconsin Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association said in a statement.
Democratic lawmakers are applauding Gov. Evers’ new order.
“Gas and diesel prices are a major concern for Wisconsinites right now,” Sen Melissa Agard, D-Madison, said. “It is egregious that big oil companies are taking advantage of regular folks while padding their own pockets.”
Republican lawmakers say the governor’s order won’t do much.
“Leadership should not be about putting a band aid on a gaping wound and then acting like a surgical hero,” Rep. Chuck Wichgers, R-Muskego, told The Center Square.
Republican candidate for governor Kevin Nicholson said if the governor wants to lower the price of gas in Wisconsin, he should end the state’s minimum mark-up law.
“Since the Great Depression, Wisconsin politicians have mandated that gasoline prices in our state are systematically inflated. Today, state law requires a 9.18% markup to wholesale gas prices in Wisconsin,” Nicholson said. “Estimates from earlier this year (when gas was just $4/gallon, on average) show that the minimum markup added upwards of $0.32 per gallon to the cost. Given that average mid-grade gas is now over $5 a gallon – the highest ever – this needs to stop.”
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Benjamin Yount is a contributor to The Center Square.