Price Controls on Natural Gas Expire: Federal price controls on the natural gas industry officially expired Jan. 1, an event that industry officials predicted would pass quietly and have little market impact. Caps on the prices producers can charge for natural gas have been phased out gradually since 1985. As the caps have been lifted, prices have dropped. More than 95% of natural gas sold today is already effectively decontrolled now that prices are lower than the federally imposed ceiling, the Natural Gas Supply Assn. estimated.