Pelosi, Democrats Ask FTC to Investigate Gas Prices

Apr 25 2008 Published by under Featured News

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and several House Democrats sent a letter to the Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, William E. Kovacic asking him to investigate the current record high gas prices.

“In light of nationwide consumer concern about the record prices for oil and gas at the pump, we urge the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to immediately initiate a rulemaking to implement the market manipulation authority mandated by Congress in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (P.L. 110-140). Congress provided this authority to the FTC four months ago — but to date, the FTC has failed to exercise its power to protect consumers from skyrocketing energy costs,” the Democrats wrote.

Pelosi outlined the FTC’s powers, “The Energy Independence and Security Act, which became law last December, directs the FTC to ensure that the U.S. petroleum market is free from price or supply manipulation. Congress gave you the power to levy tough penalties against those who might seek to profit from such illegal activities. Utilized effectively, this new authority will substantially strengthen consumer protections against high energy prices. More importantly, vigorous enforcement will help lower and stabilize prices, increase market transparency, and provide Americans with confidence that retail gasoline and diesel prices are free from the influence of anticompetitive practices and the exercise of market power.”

The letter concluded with the Democrats urging the FTC to act, “We need aggressive oversight to ensure such actions are not presently occurring, and to punish them if they are cheating consumers. The FTC must no longer delay action on implementing the mandate from Congress to stop market manipulation as American families and businesses struggle to deal with record gas prices.”

I think that prices in general are going to be a big issue in this year’s election, but the ever rising price of gasoline does make people wonder what it going on here? The energy industry seems to have run amok based on speculation alone. Any little jitter around the globe is currently viewed as a reason to raise prices.

I don’t believe that an FTC investigation will immediately help consumers, but anytime an investigation is discussed, prices come down. I think this, and some election year politics, are what the House Democrats are trying to accomplish.

Democrats Letter:

http://speaker.house.gov/newsroom/pressreleases?id=0628

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