Biden Asks FTC to Investigate Oil Companies Over High Prices at the Pump

Market Movers
3 min readNov 18, 2021

The president is now calling on the federal trade commission to investigate possible price gouging by energy companies as gas prices are not going down when oil prices are.

In a letter Biden sent to the agency’s chair he said “…I am writing to call your attention to mounting evidence of anti-consumer behaviour by oil and gas companies. The bottom line is this: gasoline prices at the pump remain high, even though oil and gas companies’ costs are declining. The Federal Trade Commission has authority to consider whether illegal conduct is costing families at the pump. I believe you should do so immediately.”

First, we had him blaming OPEC, now he’s blaming the oil companies. While at the same time, he’s out there promoting a massive infrastructure bill, while being concerned about rising inflation. I’m typically moderate-left with my politics (although I like to take a balanced view of both sides depending on the particular policy) and honestly, I can really see why people on both sides are becoming more and more frustrated with Joe Biden.

However, Biden isn’t the first president to call for oil companies to be investigated. Obama did it before him. It’s not just Democrats either, because George Bush also used the same play, which may surprise some people to hear considering he actually came from the oil industry.

That’s because it’s a pretty empty gesture. It’s not going to harm the oil companies or lead to prices dropping. Just like with the previous presidents who went down this route, the report will end up showing that the main driver of prices is the price of crude oil.

It seems this is just a page from the political playbook when oil prices are high. Another is the suggestion of using the Strategic Petroleum Reserves. In fact, we can read a quote from George Bush when he was asking the FTC to investigate oil companies.

He said: “Our strategic reserve is sufficiently large to guard against any major supply disruption,”

Although he did actually defer deposits to the reserves to make sure there was extra supply available in the market.

Speaking of Bush, his former energy advisor Bob McNally had this to say about the…

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