President Joe Biden decided to ask the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to conduct an investigation into energy companies’ behavior as gas prices have soared. They are up by 49.6 percent from October 2020. Prices in power pumps have reached a seven-year high. This inquiry might not have any immediate impact on the consumer price.
On Wednesday, President Biden wrote a letter to the FTC Chair Lina Khan. He said that he was concerned about the difference between the cost of wholesale fuel and its price at pumps. He also cited “mounting evidence of anti-consumer behavior by oil and gas companies.”
The letter also said that there was an “unexplained large gap between the price of unfinished gasoline and the average price at the pump” which was “well above the pre-pandemic average.”
In August as well, the President had asked the FTC to check on the price-gouging at the pump. It had also asked OPEC to boost its output. Countries around the world are facing a supply crisis as well as high prices.
In April 2020, at the height of the pandemic OPEC had removed almost 10 million barrels per day. American producers had also decreased their production.
Majority Leader Charles Schumer urged President Biden to tap into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), which are emergency petroleum reserves. This could be a method by which prices could be lowered. Earlier, several Democrats had sent the president a letter asking him to tap the SPR and to ban crude exports.
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said that the president would consider the SPR as an option. Earlier in the month Granholm had told CNN that the president had been “looking at all the tools” that he had. The White House had also said that there were limited options available to tackle gas prices.
The American Petroleum Institute has a different view from that of the President or some of the members of Congress . Senior vice president of policy, economics and regulatory affairs at the institute, Frank Macchiarola said the nation should encourage the safe and responsible development of American-made oil and natural gas rather than “launching investigations” or “pleading with OPEC to increase supply.”