Mikulski Demands FTC Investigate Gas Gouging

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) today introduced an amendment to the Commerce, Justice, Science spending bill, currently being debated by the Senate, which requires the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to conduct an immediate investigation into gasoline price-gouging. Cosponsored by Senator Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), this amendment directs the FTC to investigate any evidence of price gouging throughout the supply chain and distribution markets, the effects of price gouging on economic activity in the United States and how price spikes are impacting people's purchasing power.

"We all know the devastating impacts Hurricane Katrina caused to our oil production and refining capacity in the Gulf - major refineries and distribution pipelines were down, debris in critical shipping channels made it difficult for tankers to offload gasoline and in some areas, people made a run on gasoline because of rumors that supplies were dry," said Senator Mikulski. "But there have also been widespread reports of gasoline price gouging. There are reports that some gasoline retailers and wholesalers are taking advantage of consumers by unnecessarily inflating prices at the gas pump. This is despicable and, if true, needs to be stopped."

The Department of Energy reported yesterday that the average national price of gasoline dropped below the $3 mark, but the state of Maryland has some of the highest prices in the country: $3.17 today compared to $2.46 one month ago.

"Families and businesses in Maryland and across the country need immediate relief from gasoline price spikes and assurances they are not being gouged during this time of national crisis," continued Senator Mikulski.

Earlier this month, Senator Mikulski sent a letter to President Bush that urged him to direct administration officials to immediately investigate unfair practices at the pump. The letter can be found online at: http://mikulski.senate.gov/record.cfm?id=245250.

"More needs to be done. Consumers should not pay the price for failed leadership," added Senator Mikulski. "The Administration has taken a number of steps to combat gas prices and ease fears of gas shortages, but must also ensure that oil companies are not exploiting this tragedy by inflating prices at the pump."

To contact Senator Mikulski, please see http://mikulski.senate.gov/contactme/mailform.html.

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