Biden Works to Ensure Consumers Aren't Gouged at Gas Pump
With gasoline prices over $3 a gallon in some parts of the country and the cost of driving expected to rise significantly during the summer months, U.S. Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) joined with a bipartisan group of Senators in offering legislation that will outlaw gas price gouging, guaranteeing fair prices at the pump.
According to the most recent Energy Information Data, the nation's demand for gasoline is steadily rising, outpacing the growth in our refinery capacity and forcing us to import more foreign fuel. As of May 1, 2007, a gallon of regular gasoline averaged $2.97, and some industry analysts expect the cost to reach $4 a gallon by Memorial Day.
The Petroleum Consumer Price Gouging Protection Act, introduced today by Senators Biden, Maria Cantwell (D- WA), Gordon Smith(R-OR), and John Kerry (D- MA) will provide a new statutory ban on manipulative practices in the wholesale petroleum markets; new measures to ensure transparency for petroleum prices; and enact new civil and criminal penalties for companies that break the rules.
"Clearly, the demand for gasoline is strong and will remain strong for the foreseeable future -- most hard-working Americans drive out of necessity - they need to get to work; get their kids to school; and go grocery shopping," said Senator Biden. "In the past few years there have been great fluctuations in gas prices, placing added burdens on families in Delaware and across the nation. In some cases such as in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the reason for these spikes is obvious -- but at other times, price spikes appear for no discernible reason. This bill will give federal and state regulators new authority to crack down on those who artificially manipulate the market. Consumers should be able to fill up their tanks, confident that they aren't being ripped off by big oil companies or even their local stations."
Beyond the consumer protection measure introduced today, Senator Biden also stressed the need for a national energy strategy that will dramatically shift our focus toward alternative energy sources and spur industry innovation. Earlier this year, he introduced legislation that would increase the production of alternative fuels and alternative fuel vehicles, and provided added funding for the research and development of lithium ion batteries - a product necessary to develop the next generation of hybrid plug-in vehicles.
"Now is the time to act," said Senator Biden. "If we are ever going to be truly energy independent, we must do whatever it takes to spur energy innovation while protecting our consumers here at home."
The Petroleum Consumer Price Gouging Protection Act now goes to the Senate Commerce Committee for initial consideration.