Thursday, December 8 2022

From the office of Senator Maria Cantwell:

SEATTLE, Wash. — U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), chair of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, announced today that in the coming weeks the committee will hold a hearing to consider the impact of soaring oil prices on trade and consumers, and invited oil industry executives to testify.

“While Russia’s blatant assault on democratic Ukraine has clearly had an impact on global oil prices, crude is only about half the retail cost of gasoline,” the senator wrote. Cantwell in a letter to ExxonMobil, Pioneer Natural Resources and BP America, Inc.

“Some market analysts have pointed out that current retail gasoline and diesel prices are significantly higher than similar periods of high global oil prices. Others have noted that oil and petroleum markets lack transparency and that the decisions of just a few players, especially when markets are tight, can have a disproportionate and undue impact on retail prices.

“It was also pointed out that the Federal Trade Commission, using the authority and responsibility that Congress conferred on the Commission in 2007, could do more to monitor wholesale oil markets and investigate suspicious or inexplicable trade practices.” , she also wrote, noting that the hearing, “will focus on actions that Congress can take to maintain the free flow of goods and services and protect consumers from excessive prices at the pumps.”

During a hearing last week on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, of which she is a senior member, Senator Cantwell publicly called on oil executives to appear before the Senate again. in order to justify skyrocketing profits as prices at the pump soared. In 2005, Cantwell interviewed top oil executives about then exorbitant oil prices and secured commitments from ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, BP and Shell to open their books and help shed light on possible hikes. of price. After years of effort, in 2007 Cantwell succeeded in having two important new laws enacted to better control energy markets, including making it a federal crime to manipulate wholesale oil markets.

The Commerce Committee will provide further details on the hearing, titled “The Corrosive Effect of High Oil Prices on U.S. Commerce and Consumers” as they become available.

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