President Biden in his latest shift of finding blame and solutions for high oil prices on Wednesday sent a letter to the FTC to consider whether “illegal conduct” by large oil and gas companies is pushing up gasoline prices for American consumers.
The F.T.C., does have the power to break up large industry players but in reality is unlikely to affect gasoline prices materially any time soon. The move was met with derision by almost anyone around the industry, from across oil and gas trading desks to energy company management.
The clear political intentions to blame Big Oil for his base and perhaps prod the commission to open an investigation to gather data on how companies set gasoline prices, which could be used in future enforcement actions.
The move follows Biden pleas to OPEC, Saudi Arabia and even China to pump more oil. His energy secretary laughed at suggestions of the US raising production. The oil price saga is perhaps the most brazen non sensical political saga from an Administration that seems to hit new levels of political doublespeak and partisanship story telling.
Mr. Biden’s in his letter to Lina Khan, who the New York Times described as “antitrust champion he appointed as chair of the commission” claims “mounting evidence of anti-consumer behavior by oil and gas companies.”
The president noted that prices at the pump have risen even as the costs of refined fuel have fallen and industry profits have gone up. The two largest US players in the industry, ExxonMobil and Chevron, have doubled their net income since 2019, he wrote, while announcing billions of dollars in plans to issue dividends and buy back stock.
The average gallon of gas was nearly $3.40 in the United States on Monday, according to the Energy Information Agency, its highest price in seven years.
The NYT wrote; Earlier this year, Mr. Biden asked the commission to monitor the gasoline market for any illegal conduct. The commission responded by increasing scrutiny of mergers in the oil and gas industry.
President Biden made his letter public the day the DOE released it’s Weekly Crude oil and Products storage report.
Source: NYT Biden Letter
From The TradersCommunity US News Desk