SC lawmaker wants cap on gas prices

State Senator Dick Elliot (D) is sponsoring a bill that would cap wholesale gas prices.

COLUMBIA (WACH, WPDE) -- South Carolina may have some of the cheapest gas in the country, but the price at the pump is still causing pain for most people.

According to, the current average for a gallon of unleaded is $3.40 in the Columbia area. Motorists are paying nearly 90 cents more compared to a year ago

State Senator Dick Elliot (D) who represents Dillon, Horry, Marion & Marlboro Counties, is sponsoring a bill that would cap wholesale gas prices.

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You can read the entire bill as proposed here.

Michael Fields is the executive director of the South Carolina Petroleum Marketers Association and says he's concerned about Sen. Elliott's bill.

I don't think South Carolina needs to be going down that road, Fields states.

The Grand Strand Democrat is proposing a one-year cap on the price of gasoline as determined by the S.C. Department of Revenue.

When you start telling major oil companies that we are going to cap the price, what incentive do they have to come do business in our state? said Fields.

Fields believes if the bill passes, there could be major implications to both consumers and businesses, like service disruptions.

In 2005, Hawaii attempted to control the price motorists paid at the pump, but the first-in-the-nation experiment sputtered to a stop after eight months.

One study showed the gas cap cost Hawaiian drivers five cents more per gallon. However, here at home, people are interested in learning more about the proposal.

I think it TMs a good idea, says Columbia resident Joseph Rosier. "Gas is too expensive these days.

I walk pretty much everywhere I go and it would be nice to drive again, adds Charles Hearst.

There will be a public hearing to learn more about the bill in Myrtle Beach on August, 24th. The meeting starts at 7:00 p.m. at Horry Georgetown Technical College's campus on Crabtree Lane. At the same meeting you can also learn more about a bill that could increase penalties for the theft and destruction of timber products.

While its full speed ahead for those in favor of the bill, others hope the proposal will hit a bump and be thrown off course.

For the latest gas prices in your area, check out our Pain at the Pump page.

What do you think about a proposed cap on wholesale gas prices? Leave your thoughts in our comment section below.

(WPDE and contributed to this report.)