On Wednesday, the Biden Administration issued a call for an investigation into whether possible misconduct by oil companies is causing fuel prices to increase.
In a letter to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairwoman Lina Khan, Biden asked for a federal investigation into why Americans are paying more to fill up at the gas station heading into the Thanksgiving holiday travel season.
“The Federal Trade Commission has authority to consider whether illegal conduct is costing families at the pump. I believe you should do so immediately,” Biden wrote.
The letter pointed to a gap in the cost of unfinished gasoline and current fuel prices:
“Prices at the pump have continued to rise, even as refined fuel costs go down and industry profits go up. 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 in that same period. This unexplained large gap between the price of unfinished gasoline and the average price at the pump is well above the pre-pandemic average.”
“I do not accept hard-working Americans paying more for gas because of anti-competitive or otherwise potentially illegal conduct,” Biden wrote. “I therefore ask that the commission further examine what is happening with oil and gas markets, and that you bring all of the commission’s tools to bear if you uncover any wrongdoing.”
Biden also points to the doubling of net income for ExxonMobil and Chevron since 2019.
The average price for a gallon of regular gasoline is currently at a seven year high of $3.41, an increase of $1.21 over last year, according to the American Automobile Association. The average cost for a gallon of diesel fuel is up to $3.734, an increase of about $1.29 over last year, according to the Energy Information Administration.
The American Petroleum Institute vehemently responded to the White House’s request for an investigation, stating that “This is a distraction from the fundamental shift that is taking place and the ill-advised government decisions that are exacerbating this challenging situation.”
In addition to concern over increasing fuel costs, the trucking industry has also faced supply issues in recent weeks. Several TA truck stop locations in the southwest have been forced to ration diesel due to market supply problems. Truck stops in southern Ohio have also faced supply issues.