Biden orders probe into energy firms for anti-consumer behavior

Large gap between price of unfinished gasoline, average price at pump well above pre-pandemic average, says president

Ovunc Kutlu   | 17.11.2021
Biden orders probe into energy firms for anti-consumer behavior


US President Joe Biden ordered the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to launch a probe Wednesday into American energy companies for anti-consumer practices as the nation deals with soaring energy prices.

Biden asked the antitrust law enforcer and consumer watchdog to examine "whether illegal conduct is costing families at the pump," adding "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% while gas prices at the pump are up 3% 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," he wrote in a letter to FTC Chair Lina Khan.

The decision comes as crude oil prices recently hit their highest level since 2014, creating upward pressure on inflation. Consumer prices in the US rose 6.2% in October, marking their largest 12-month increase since November 1990.

Biden noted that US oil and natural gas firms are posting significantly higher profits and two of the largest oil companies, ExxonMobil and Chevron, are on track to nearly double their income compared to 2019.

"The bottom line is this: gasoline prices at the pump remain high, even though oil and gas companies’ costs are declining," Biden wrote in the letter.

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