MIDDLEBURG HEIGHTS, Ohio (WJW) – With gas prices rising to the highest they have ever been just before a busy holiday weekend, city council in Middleburg Heights is formally requesting a federal investigation into whether they are influenced by anything illegal.

The AAA on Friday showed the average price of a gallon of gas in Ohio at $4.40, just below the national average of $4.59.

AAA Spokesperson Lynda Lambert expects 39 million Americans to travel 50 miles or more to a Memorial Day weekend destination, 34 million of them by car despite the high price of gas.

Like many of his counterparts and constituents, Councilman Tim Ali in Middleburg Heights is frustrated with the price of gas. He introduced the resolution which points out that extremely high gas prices have their root in the COVID-19 pandemic, with Russia’s war on Ukraine causing a rapid spike pushing prices higher.

It also states that the federal government regulates most everything but the price of gas, which has risen by 50 cents overnight. It says increased gas prices hurt every resident and small business.

“When you have a high gas price, you are hurting the poor people, you are hurting the middle class the most,” Ali told FOX 8 on Friday.

His resolution cites that gas prices have purposely been raised before a high traffic holiday, stating, “this is price gouging in any other commodity market.”

It requests a Federal Trade Commission investigation into whether or not there is any illegal manipulation of gas prices and demands a cap on increases of gas prices of no more than five cents in any 24 hour period.

“Hopefully this goes to Congress to make sure that they go ahead and start an investigation on the oil companies to make sure there is no criminal activity on this,” said Ali.

AAA says the rising cost of crude oil as well as volatility in the market because of the war between Russia and Ukraine are the biggest influences on the price of oil, along with summer travel.

Lambert says the number of people who are expected to be travelling for the extended holiday weekend resembles pre-pandemic numbers, so people are compensating elsewhere in their budgets.

Ali tells FOX 8 he hopes the unanimous resolution will help influence the FTC to investigate, inviting other city councils across Ohio and the country to join Middleburg Heights and maybe do something to drive the record prices down.