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Wyden, colleagues urge FTC to investigate oil, gas market practices that may be driving up prices

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WASHINGTON (KTVZ) -- Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., this week along with Sens. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., called for federal action to ensure transparency and greater oversight of petroleum markets to protect consumers in Oregon and the West Coast from possible price manipulation.

“High and volatile fuel prices are hindering our economy and burdening families,” the senators wrote in a letter Tuesday, asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether trading practices used to set benchmark prices may have played a role in artificially elevating wholesale petroleum prices in Oregon, California and Washington. 

“We are concerned that current prices borne by consumers at the pump are disproportionate to the rise and subsequent decline in the price of crude oil over the past month and cannot be fully explained by supply and demand fundamentals.”

The letter comes as sky-high gasoline and diesel pump prices, and wide disparity in pricing along the West Coast, have exposed how little is known about how gas prices are set in the petroleum markets despite their profound impact on the U.S. economy and household budgets.

Read the senators’ letter to the FTC here.

KTVZ news sources

Comments

17 Comments

  1. This covers a lot more than just the fuel market. Disproportionate prices to cost pretty much sums up everything right now from food to housing to medical care.

    Where’s the outrage and investigation into that? Why are Americans so obsessed with gas prices?

  2. Every time gasoline prices rise rapidly politicians launch an ‘investigation’. It makes them seem like they are acting in the interests of the citizenry, but in fact it’s mostly grandstanding and a waste of taxpayer money. Each time they investigate and hold hearings, they turn up no villians. Why? Because the process of exploration, extraction, refining, transportation, and retailing is very complicated and most often market driven.

    https://www.benzinga.com/news/earnings/19/01/13005538/when-fuel-prices-are-moving-up-and-down-who-is-making-money

    1. Yea, all politicians do it and it’s silly. The world produces 100 million barrels of oil a day, and consumes 100 million barrels of oil a day. It doesn’t take much to disturb that balance and swing prices one way or another. Gas prices are always going to be higher here and most parts of the country because the nearest oil refinery is in Port Angeles, Oregon gas taxes are high, and Oregon gas stations have higher labor costs than other places. This is an interesting article about why, even though the U.S. produces more oil than it consumes, U.S. oil refineries are configured to use imported oil. https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2022/03/russian-oil-sanctions-gas-prices/627074/

    1. For the year 2021 Exxon’s earning were $23,040 (in millions)Where were the legislators and Pres Biden last year when exxon mobil reported a loss of 22,440 (in millions) in 2020. So, to put in perspective the company only earned $600 over the TWO year period. Averaged that’s only $300 per year. There should be cheers of accolade that the oil industry kept producing products when the price of oil dropped to $30 per barrel when the break even point is around $50 per barrel. Let’s not villify an industry who has to make good $ when prices are up and eat it when prices are low. That is the curse of working in an industry who is at the mercy of the price of a world trades commodity.

  3. Ron Wyden needs to leave Oregon alone and go retire somewhere. He’s not even a resident of Oregon. He’s a resident of New York. So sick of the liberals that just keep voting these clowns in year after year. Hey, change will never come unless you vote these life long politicians out. Let Wyden go retire in his mansion off the blood sweat and tears of you and I.

  4. How about the Sec of Energy start processing permits a bit faster, only 65 issued last month. April 2021 it was 600. How about issuing pipeline, water, road and easement permits for these leases too. THey need workers too. Biden group is blocking or slow walking every permit. January 20, 2025 gas prices will drop dramatically and the US will be energy independent again.

  5. Why be accountable for policy decisions when you can blame someone else. What a waste of time and tax payer dollars. Resume domestic production and return the US to energy independence.

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