Wednesday President Joe Biden asked the Federal Trade Commission to look into the practices of energy companies as gasoline prices reaches new highs stating “mounting evidence of anti-consumer behavior by oil and gas companies.”
According to last week’s CPI index from the Bureau of Labor Statistics gasoline prices were up 49.6% year-over-year in October, as people started to take to the road again post-pandemic.
In the letter Biden remarked that despite declining prices of unfinished gasoline retail prices remained high. “This unexplained large gap between the price of unfinished gasoline and the average price at the pump is well above the pre-pandemic average,” stated the letter.
A concern expressed by the FTC in September has been that retail chains are signaling price increases through posted gasoline prices, allowing them to all raise prices at the same moment. According to the FTC such a signal typically starts with one chain raising its prices in all it gasoline stations and then monitoring whether its competitors follow.
“If market-wide restoration behavior by larger regional and national retail chains is successful, it may mean that these players, by virtue of their size or market share, are able to increase prices faster or higher than competition would otherwise allow,” noted Bureau of Competition analyst Holly Vedova.