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Biden calls on FTC to probe anti-consumer conduct by vitality firms as gasoline costs soar


US President Joe Biden speaks throughout an occasion to commemorate Veterans Day at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington Nationwide Cemetary in Arlington, Virginia on November 11, 2021.

Nicholas Kamm | AFP | Getty Pictures

President Joe Biden is asking the Federal Commerce Fee to look into conduct from vitality firms as costs on the pump hover round a seven-year excessive.

In a letter to Chair Lina Khan Wednesday, Biden stated there’s “mounting proof of anti-consumer conduct by oil and gasoline firms.” The letter famous that costs on the pump have remained excessive regardless of a decline within the worth of unfinished gasoline. “This unexplained giant hole between the worth of unfished gasoline and the common worth on the pump is nicely above the pre-pandemic common,” the letter stated.

The letter added that the “two largest oil and gasoline firms in america” — that are Exxon and Chevron primarily based on market capitalization — are on observe to nearly double their web earnings in contrast with 2019 ranges, whereas the 2 firms have additionally introduced inventory buybacks and dividend hikes.

Biden’s newest request comes because the administration tries to quell the surge in gasoline costs and its contribution to inflation throughout the economic system. In August the administration referred to as on OPEC and its oil-producing allies to spice up output and likewise requested the FTC to analyze price-gouging on the pump.

The administration has repeatedly stated that it is inspecting the instruments at its disposal to alleviate a few of the burden on customers, which might embrace tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

The nationwide common for a gallon of gasoline stood at $3.41 on Wednesday, in response to knowledge from AAA. That is up from $3.31 one month in the past, and $2.12 one yr in the past.