WASHINGTON -- 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, according to a report on WJLA-TV.
A panel of experts laid the blame for the high gas prices on Mamo. "Consumers in D.C. are paying millions of dollars more a day at the pump because of his stranglehold on the market," said anti-trust attorney David Balto, according to the report.
Mamo testified he leases most of his stations to independent operators and they set the price.
"It's not me," [image-nocss] he said. "You have the wrong person under legislative scrutiny here. "I struggled, I worked hard and I'm here today. It's not my fault; it's not my fault."
Jon Anderson of AAA Mid-Atlantic argued 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. He said if he is forced to go out of business, a lot of people will lose jobs.
Mamo is the primary owner of Capitol Petroleum, based in Springfield, Va. It "owns, operates or supplies" 164 stations in the D.C. area and 71 stations in New York City.
The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded in D.C. was $3.97 on Friday, compared to Virginia's average of $3.56. In Maryland, the average price was $3.70, according to the report.
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