This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," April 19, 2006, that was edited for clarity.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: What if I told you the price you pay at the pump could be a lot less, but the government makes it illegal for stores like Wal-Mart to sell you gas at a discount?
State lawmakers claim it would be unfair to all those mom-and-pop station owners and argue that, once they are out of business, the Wal-Marts of the world would just jack up prices anyway even higher.
My next guest disagrees and is fighting to repeal this law in this state. Joining us now is Florida Representative Irv Slosberg.
Representative, thank you for coming.
IRVING SLOSBERG, D-FLORIDA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: Thank you.
First of all, it is illegal to have gas wars in the state of Florida. It is against the law to sell gas below cost.
CAVUTO: OK. So, what does that mean for Floridians?
SLOSBERG: That means that we have to pay $784 million more this year because of an archaic law that has been on the books for 20 years in eight other states besides Florida.
And what we have to do is, we have to take down this law. You know, like, this is costing us a lot of money. Gas in the last six weeks has gone from $2.15 to $2.84 a gallon.
CAVUTO: All right, now, Wal-Mart wanted to get into this business. The fear was that it would do to small mom-and-pop gas stations what it has done to small mom-and-pop hardware and nickel-and-dime stores, drive them out of business.
SLOSBERG: I got it, Neil.
CAVUTO: Is that a legitimate fear?
SLOSBERG: No way. In the other 41 states that they don't have this price-fixing law, mom-and-pops are fine. You know what they have to do? They got to go work a little harder and go figure out other kinds of inventory to bring in to make their margins. And they do it in 41 other states.
So, I want to repeal it in the state of Florida.
CAVUTO: OK. Where do you stand right now?
SLOSBERG: Well, it's tough. But, you know, senior management is holding me back. But if we, as a government, continue to ignore the impact of rising fuel costs...
CAVUTO: Senior management, what do you mean, senior management? Senior management of who?
SLOSBERG: In other words, you have got senior management in the legislature. The president of the Senate and the speaker of the House, they have not called it.
And, you know, we have got to be pounding the table, because if we continue to ignore the impact of these rising fuel costs to working families and retirees, we have forgotten why we have come here to begin with.
CAVUTO: Well, let me ask you, I mean, Wal-Mart, if it did get into this business — gas is close to 3 bucks a gallon right now.
CAVUTO: What is Wal-Mart saying it could sell gas for?
SLOSBERG: It is not only Wal-Mart.
CAVUTO: I know.
SLOSBERG: There's a lot of other people.
CAVUTO: I know there are others. I know there are others.
SLOSBERG: There's a lot of...
CAVUTO: But how much lower than we are getting now?
SLOSBERG: Seven cents a gallon.
So, we could save $784 million. And you know what?
CAVUTO: The same taxes? Everything is the same? The gasoline itself that would be cheaper?
CAVUTO: I see.
SLOSBERG: Gasoline should burn through your car, not through our pockets. You know, we can't take it anymore down here in Florida.
CAVUTO: Yes. You think oil companies are gouging you?
SLOSBERG: Everyone is. I mean, everyone is. We are...
CAVUTO: Who is everyone?
SLOSBERG: We are the little guys.
The wealthy petroleum marketers, the executives making $100 million bonuses, I mean, you know, this thing should all be investigated, because what happens is, right before a holiday comes up, you know, gas prices get jacked through the sky. And then summer vacation is coming? I mean, just in the last six weeks, from $2.15 to $2.84, a 35 percent increase, that is ridiculous. What we have to do is...
CAVUTO: So, the Iran threats, a Nigerian civil war, and the fact that oil trades on the markets, none of that is a factor; it is all being rigged?
SLOSBERG: Thirty-five percent in the last six weeks. Something is wrong. We need investigation. Special interests have taken over the Florida legislature.
CAVUTO: Would you say the same if it dropped 40 percent overnight?
SLOSBERG: It is not going to drop 40 percent overnight.
SLOSBERG: You know what, Neil? I am hoping you are right.
CAVUTO: OK. Representative, thank you very much.
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