President Biden calls on Federal Trade Commission to determine if ‘illegal conduct’ drives up gas prices
As gas prices skyrocket in the United States, President Joe Biden has asked the Federal Trade Commission to determine whether the illegal behavior is driving up the price of gas for families. Americans have, prices at the pump to .
In a letter to FTC President Lina Khan on Wednesday, Biden drew his attention to “the accumulation of evidence of anti-consumer behavior on the part of oil and gas companies.”
“The bottom line is this: Gasoline prices at the pump remain high, even as oil and gas company costs are falling,” Biden wrote. “The Federal Trade Commission has the power to examine whether illegal driving is costing families at the pump. I think you should do so immediately.”
The cost of gasoline has risen nearly 50% from a year ago, according to the latest Consumer Price Index, as inflation had its . The average price of a gallon of gasoline is $ 3.41, according to AAA, which noted that it was . The average price a year ago was $ 2.12.
AAA predicts that more than 53.4 million people will travel for the Thanksgiving holiday, up 13% from last year. This includes 48.3 million people in cars.
In his letter to the FTC chairman, Biden noted that a few months ago the director of the National Economic Council wrote to him at his request asking the commission to consider monitoring the gas markets and ” consider tackling illegal behavior. Since then, commission staff have been led by Khan to strengthen oversight, Biden said.
“However, prices at the pump have continued to rise, even as refined fuel costs fall and industry profits rise. Usually, pump prices match the movement of unfinished gasoline prices. , which is the main ingredient in the gas that people buy at the gas station, “Biden wrote on Wednesday. “But over the past month, the price of unfinished gasoline has fallen by more than 5% while gasoline prices at the pump have increased by 3% over the same period. This large gap and unexplained between the price of unfinished gasoline and the average price at the pump is well above the pre-pandemic average. “
In response to the president’s letter, a spokesperson for the commission said, “The FTC is concerned about this issue and we are reviewing it.
The American Petroleum Institute, which is the lobbyist for the largest oil and gas companies, rejected the president’s request.
“It’s a distraction from the fundamental market shift underway and the misguided government decisions that are making this predicament worse. Demand has returned as the economy returns and exceeds supply. administration to restrict access to US energy supplies and cancel major infrastructure projects, ”Frank Macchiarola, senior vice president of political, economic and regulatory affairs, said in a statement. Rather than launching investigations into regulated markets or pleading with OPEC to increase supply, he said, “we should encourage the safe and responsible development of US-made oil and natural gas.” .
Over the summer, the Biden administration urged OPEC, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies to increase oil production to fight rising prices as the pandemic resumes. coronavirus continues.
Mr Biden visited Detroit on Wednesday afternoon as part of his efforts to tout the bipartisan infrastructure bill he passed earlier this week. There, he visited General Motors’ electric vehicle assembly plant and highlighted how the law will help build electric vehicle charging stations, which will make it easier for electric vehicles to travel across the country and reduce emissions. .