Republican FTC commissioners ask the White House for evidence of a request for a gasoline price survey

WASHINGTON, Nov. 23 (Reuters) – Two Republicans in the Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday asked the White House to reveal any “growing evidence” of high-retail gasoline offenses after President Joe Biden called on the agency to dig deeper into possible “illegal conduct”. ” on the market.

FTC Commissioners Noah Phillips and Christine Wilson asked the administration to share the evidence “so we can consider how to proceed.”

Last week, Biden told FTC President Lina Khan that there was “increasing evidence of anti-consumer behavior from oil and gas companies”, and he called on the Commission to “investigate further what is happening with the oil and gas markets.”

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“I do not accept that hard-working Americans are paying more for gas because of anti-competitive or otherwise potentially illegal behavior,” Biden said in a letter to Khan. Read more

The White House said in a statement that the price of the pump usually moves with the price of wholesale gasoline.

“But recently there has been a breakdown where the price of refined gas is falling, but the prices at the pump are rising. The breakdown is now almost 30 cents larger than its historical average,” a White House official said.

The two Republican commissioners said they shared the concern of all Americans about current gasoline prices, but noted that the FTC had been asked to investigate gasoline prices under previous administrations and found no evidence of coordination or other illegal behavior.

“The FTC has a long history of studying the oil and gas industry,” they wrote. “For example, the work of our agencies has highlighted the fact that the prices of the pump may not immediately correlate with the price of crude oil.”

Crude oil prices recently reached seven-year highs, and although they are still well below the levels reached between 2011 and 2014, when they broke through $ 100 per barrel. barrel, many consumers feel the pain of a dramatic increase from a year ago.

The United States said on Tuesday it would release millions of barrels of oil from strategic reserves in coordination with China, India, South Korea, Japan and the United Kingdom to try to cool prices after OPEC + producers repeatedly ignored calls for more crude oil. Read more

Biden said the move would help lower gas prices.

“I told you before that we will address these issues. That is exactly what we are doing,” Biden said in comments released by the White House.

“It will take time, but before long you should see the price of gas fall where you fill your tank,” he said.

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Reporting by David Shepardson and Diane Bartz; Edited by Bernadette Baum and Peter Cooney

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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