Biden Asks FTC To Investigate Rising Gas Prices
President Joe Biden has asked Lina Khan, the chairperson of the Federal Trade Commission, to open an investigation into possible connections between fossil fuel corporations and the ballooning costs of oil.
While he did not cite the name of any specific producer, Biden did allude to the “two largest oil and gas companies“ in the United States, which are Exxon Mobil and Chevron. The president also avoided placing any unproven blame on any single entity.
But Biden is clearly concerned over the recent uptick in prices at the pump, which have spiked by almost 60 percent over the course of the last year to $3.41 per gallon despite a steady decline in production costs. This, coupled with historically high inflation, is squeezing Americans dry.
“Usually, prices at the pump correspond to movements in the price of unfinished gasoline,“ Biden wrote in a letter to Khan. “But in the last month, the price of unfinished gasoline is down more than 5 percent while gas prices at the pump are up 3 percent.”
Biden tasked Khan with looking into whether the oil and gas titans are engaging in unethical or unlawful activity at the expense of American consumers, who are sustaining themselves on razor-thin budgets and stagnant incomes.
“I do not accept hard-working Americans paying more for gas because of anti-competitive or otherwise potentially illegal conduct,” the president wrote, requesting that Khan “bring all of the commission‘s tools to bear if you uncover any wrongdoing.”
Industry representatives are blaming rising prices on the president’s policies and are encouraging Biden to allow them to drill more wells and extract more fossil fuels from deep beneath the Earth.
“This is a distraction from the fundamental market shift that is taking place and the ill-advised government decisions that are exacerbating this challenging situation,” American Petroleum Institute Senior Vice President Frank Macchiarola said in a statement. “Rather than launching investigations on markets that are regulated and closely monitored on a daily basis or pleading with OPEC to increase supply, we should be encouraging the safe and responsible development of American-made oil and natural gas.”
American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers lobbyist Derrick Morgan shared a similar perspective, and the basic message was that oil companies should be able to do whatever they want.
“Unfortunately, federal policy is discouraging supply by shutting down pipelines, putting future production off-limits, talking down the future of the petroleum business, and imposing expensive requirements on refineries, chief among them a burdensome Renewable Fuel Standard,” Morgan said. “The administration is blaming others when it ought to take a sober look at its own energy policy.“