May 23, 2007 4:00 PM, EDT

House Passes Bill Targeting Gasoline Price Gouging

The House approved legislation Wednesday that would make gasoline price gouging a federal crime, subjecting companies to as much as $150 million in fines, Bloomberg reported.

The 284-141 vote was the second of two measure the House passed this week in response to record gasoline prices, Bloomberg said.

Lawmakers also approved a measure that would allow the Justice Department to file antitrust lawsuits against OPEC, whose members provide almost half of U.S. oil imports.

President Bush has threatened to veto the legislation, saying the bill “could result in gasoline price controls and in some cases bring back long gas lines reminiscent of the 1970s,” according to a White House statement.

The average retail gasoline price rose to a record $3.218 a gallon last week, and has risen more than $1 this year.