December 7, 2021
Biden asks FTC to investigate 'illegal conduct' by oil, gas companies as prices surge

Biden asks FTC to investigate ‘illegal conduct’ by oil, gas companies as prices surge

President Biden on Wednesday referred to as for the Federal Commerce Fee to probe whether or not oil and gas companies are partaking in prison conduct by making the most of artificially excessive prices on the pump, even as wholesale gas prices decline.

Biden – beneath mounting political strain with inflation on the highest price in additional than three many years – urged FTC Chair Lina Khan in a letter to investigate potential wrongdoing by the trade, alleging “mounting evidence of anti-consumer behavior” by the companies.

“The bottom line is this: gasoline prices at the pump remain high, even though oil and gas companies’ costs are declining,” Biden mentioned. “The Federal Trade Commission has authority to consider whether illegal conduct is costing families at the pump. I believe you should do so immediately.”

A gallon of gas, on common, was $3.41 nationwide on Tuesday, in accordance to AAA – up from $2.11 a yr in the past. 

Power prices have performed a big position in a latest inflation surge, skyrocketing 4.8% from September to October, with worth will increase widespread throughout the sector. The price for gasoline (6.1%), heating oil (12.3%) and pure gas (6.2%) all jumped final month from September. 

However Biden wrote within the letter that whereas prices on the pump usually reply to modifications within the prices of unfinished gasoline, prices have truly elevated 3% over the past month, whereas the price of refined gas has gone down about 5% in the identical interval. 

“This unexplained large gap between the price of unfinished gasoline and the average price at the pump is well above the pre-pandemic average,” he wrote. “Meanwhile, the largest oil and gas companies in America are generating significant profits off higher energy prices.”

He famous the 2 largest oil and gas companies within the U.S. are on monitor to almost double their internet earnings over 2019, the final full yr earlier than the pandemic. Biden didn’t determine the most important oil and gas companies by title, however the largest within the U.S. primarily based on market capitalization are ExxonMobil and Chevron. Each companies, he mentioned, are planning to re-purchase billions of {dollars} of their very own inventory this yr or subsequent.

“I do not accept hard-working Americans paying more for gas because of anti-competitive or otherwise potentially illegal conduct,” Biden wrote. “I therefore ask that the commission further examine what is happening with oil and gas markets, and that you bring all of the commission’s tools to bear if you uncover any wrongdoing.”

The FTC is an unbiased company that operates past the purview of the White Home. It has the facility the open investigations into potential anti-competitive and antitrust habits by companies.

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