Congress To Hold Hearing Over Gas Price Gouging

by Joe Rutland

Congress is going to get itself involved in the issue of gas prices. Specifically, they are going to be holding a hearing about price gouging. The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on oversight and investigations will have some heavy hitters on the hot seat on Wednesday. Executives from companies like Chevron, ExxonMobil, and BP will be testifying at a hearing titled “Gouged at the Gas Station: Big Oil and American’s Pain at the Pump.”

What To Know

  • Congress will hold a hearing on Wednesday regarding gas prices.
  • A House subcommittee will have different oil company executives on hand.
  • Analyst says the idea of gas price gouging is “not a fair assessment” of the market.

Congress Will Hold Hearing About Gas Prices With Oil Company Executives

Why is this hearing taking place? Well, politicians and consumers note that oil companies have turned hefty profits amid surging oil prices. Additionally, BP posted its highest profit since 2012 last year, MarketWatch reports. And this issue does have a powerful effect on consumers and homeowners.

Exxon said in a filing late Monday that its first-quarter profits could top $9 billion. That is compared to $8.8 billion in the fourth quarter. It all happens due to between $1.9 billion and $2.3 billion in crude price changes.

A lot of people look to oil-company profits and think they are “raising [gasoline] prices arbitrarily,” an analyst said. But they are also potentially not looking at the “tremendous” losses for those firms in 2020, said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy.

Analyst: Idea of Gas Price Gouging Is ‘Not A Fair Assessment’ Of Market

De Hann said that the idea of gas price gouging is “not a fair assessment” of the market. Claims of gouging are more a “voice of frustration” over the rise in oil prices. Tell that to American drivers, OK. We had to pay an average of $4.353 a gallon for gasoline on March 11, which is the highest price on record, according to GasBuddy. The rise in gas prices came amid a spike in crude-oil prices to their highest in nearly 14 years. They also had to deal with rising food prices, too, another issue for consumers.

“The chief reason driving retail gasoline prices to a record high in March was Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, against a tight global oil market,” said Brian Milne, editor, product manager at DTN. “Oil demand has recovered quickly from the pandemic lockdowns, outpacing supply growth, with the invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent sanctions on Russian oil exports heightening concern over supply disruptions and shortages.”