U.S. Congressman Mike McIntyre joined a group of colleagues to introduce the Energy Markets Emergency Act, a bill to set a 14-day deadline for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to implement rules to stop excessive speculation by Wall Street traders in oil futures markets.
"Gas prices are too high, and energy speculators must not be allowed to distort the oil market simply to make a quick buck," said Congressman McIntyre. "Oversight is needed to push back against excessive speculation so that the energy market can function properly to signal price based on the fundamentals of supply and demand."
The supply of oil and gasoline is greater today than it was three years ago, yet the national average price for a gallon of gasoline has not fallen to correspond to the greater availability of the product. In fact, the cost of gasoline has risen substantially, yet the demand for oil in the U.S. is at its lowest level in 15 years.
According to a February 27, 2012 article in Forbes, excessive oil speculation "translates out into a premium for gasoline at the pump of $.56 a gallon" based on a recent report from Goldman Sachs.
The Energy Markets Emergency Act is an updated version of bipartisan legislation that Congressman McIntyre cosponsored that overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 402-19 in June 2008.
Curbing excessive speculation in energy markets is one component of Congressman McIntyre's five point plan to lower gas and energy costs. The other points are to increase oil and gas production here in the United States by approving the Keystone Pipeline and opening up new areas for exploration, making investments in promising renewable and alternative technologies, releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to help deal with market volatility in the Middle East, and converting subsidies for oil companies to tax rebates for drivers.