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Biden Administration Launches Probe Into Soaring Gasoline Prices

The Biden administration is looking into prices at the pump and why they are higher than they are supposed to be.

“There’s lots of evidence that gas prices should be going down -- but they haven’t,” President Joe Biden said on Thursday, as quoted by Bloomberg. “We’re taking a close look at that.”

“We’re also going after the bad actors and pandemic profiteers in our economy,” the U.S. president also said.

U.S. gas prices have risen by as much as 50 percent since the start of the year. Earlier this week, the average reached $3.19 per gallon, Bloomberg noted, citing data from the AAA, which is the highest since October 2014. The reason for the rise appears to be a strong rebound in fuel demand as the U.S. reopened after pandemic lockdowns. Still, the Biden administration has signaled it had its suspicions about other factors at play.

Last month, the director of the National Economic Council, Brian Deese, has approached FTC head Lina Khan with a request to “monitor the U.S. gasoline market and address any illegal conduct that might be contributing to price increases for consumers at the pump.”

At the time, President Biden also acknowledged the climbing prices at the pump, saying he wanted to make sure that there was nothing preventing gas prices from falling. “Recently, we’ve seen the price that oil companies pay for a barrel of oil begin to fall, but the cost of gasoline at the pump for more American people hasn’t fallen. That’s not what you’d expect in a competitive market,” Biden said in August.

Also last month, the Biden administration called on OPEC+ to boost oil production in order to help U.S. retail gas prices to fall. The call caused a sour reaction in Alberta, which is the biggest supplier of foreign oil to the United States, and no reaction from OPEC+.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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