Widespread Pushback Against Political Theater of Gasoline Price Gouging Accusations
Last week, Democrats in Congress announced upcoming legislation that would give the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general “increased authority” to investigate alleged gasoline price gouging.
But the news was met with immediate pushback from the media, industry, and top government officials who state that price gouging claims have no basis in reality.
Energy In Depth has extensively covered the issue, including the big, collective yawn in response to the New York Attorney General’s investigation and experts criticizing the accusation ahead of the House & Energy Commerce hearing last month.
Now, even more leading voices are debunking this political theatre, which is mistakenly pointing fingers at energy companies rather than addressing the numerous policy barriers that hinder domestic energy production.
“Democratic leadership has also sought to blame oil companies for high gas prices, a growing concern for voters ahead of the midterm elections, despite no evidence of price gouging.” (emphasis added)
“Never mind that the Biden administration has already called on the FTC to issue such a probe, and that previous gasoline price gouging investigations over recent decades have not found any wrongdoing.” (emphasis added)
“The agency is regularly asked to probe gasoline prices at times when consumers are paying more at the pump and regularly reports that it has found no wrongdoing, said Henry Su, a veteran of the FTC now at the law firm Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP.” (emphasis added)
“The Biden Administration’s insistence that oil companies are manipulating the market led to a hearing at the House Committee on Energy and Commerce earlier this month, at which CEOs at the biggest oil corporations in America were grilled about their role in setting the gasoline prices. While Democrats continued to accuse oil companies of price gouging, the top executives of Exxon, Chevron, BP America, Shell USA, Devon Energy, and Pioneer Natural Resources found themselves explaining the basics of economics and how crude oil production and fuel distribution work in a free market.” (emphasis added)
“The ‘something’ that Pelosi and Schumer announced during their presser is legislation that supposedly would beef up the powers of the Federal Trade Commission to investigate so-called ‘price gouging’ by refiners. Such allegations are the standard political canard Washington Democrats consistently default to throwing out whenever gas prices go up during an election year. This has been going on for at least half a century now, and such allegations have never borne any fruit in terms of actual prosecutions of anyone in all that time. They won’t this time, either.” (emphasis added)
Bethany Williams, American Petroleum Association:
“This is an industry of price takers, not price makers, and countless investigations throughout history have shown that changes in gasoline prices are based on market factors.” (emphasis added)
Frank Macchiarola, American Petroleum Association:
“Lawmakers should focus on policies that increase US supply to help mitigate the situation rather than political grandstanding that does nothing but discourage investment at a time when it’s needed the most.”
Anne Bradbury, American Exploration and Production Council:
“Using the power of the FTC to undertake political investigations of American energy companies will not lower gas prices by a penny. At a time of historic inflation and economic contraction, Americans deserve real policies that boost domestic oil and gas production.”
Tom Kloza, Oil Price Information Service:
“There are always a few bad seeds who have high prices in tony little communities where convenience is everything. So, the AG may find a few stations, but the overwhelming number of operators are not likely to fall into whatever loose definition of ‘gouging’ the politicians choose. To me, gouging is rampant at Yankee Stadium. How much do they make on a hotdog and a bottle of water?” (emphasis added)
Jennifer Granholm, U.S. Energy Secretary:
🚨 @SpeakerPelosi JUST held a press conference to blame surging gas prices on price gouging.
The American people aren’t buying the Democrats’ blatant attempt to shift blame, & apparently, @SecGranholm isn’t either. ↓
“I’m not sure anyone is saying there is wholesale gouging.” pic.twitter.com/8mi7paadXX
— Energy & Commerce GOP (@HouseCommerce) April 28, 2022
Also today, @SecGranholm said “I’m not sure anyone is saying there is wholesale gouging.”
Either Democrats can’t get their talking points straight, or even they know their claims are ridiculous. pic.twitter.com/3DTIspPAN4
— Congressman Kelly Armstrong (@RepArmstrongND) April 28, 2022
Gas prices aren’t surging because of price gouging or the “Putin Price Hike.”
It’s because of Biden’s war on American energy.
— CathyMcMorrisRodgers (@cathymcmorris) April 28, 2022
Democrats’ finger pointing on gas prices has shifted from OPEC+ and Vladimir Putin, to oil companies and price gouging.
If the Biden Administration would unleash American energy, gas prices will go down. pic.twitter.com/J44DXic0aY
— Sen. Kevin Cramer (@SenKevinCramer) April 26, 2022