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Loosen the Gas Noose

Location: Washington, DC

LOOSEN THE GAS PRICE NOOSE! -- (Extensions of Remarks - April 26, 2005)


* Mr. FILNER. Mr. Speaker, a gallon of regular gas in San Diego or Imperial Valley has been hovering around the outrageous price of $2.50, often reaching even higher. Even as the price per barrel of oil declines, the price at our local gas stations stays sky-high.

* Every time one of my constituents drives to work, drops a child off at school or drives away on vacation, hard-earned dollars go up in smoke. When our grocery stores have to pay more to get their groceries shipped in, they pass the extra cost on to their shoppers. What's the result? The whopping price of gas is choking our middle and working class--essentially levying a new tax when we can least afford it and boosting the profits of the oil companies!

* This is simply unacceptable. We must continue to fight to lower the price of gas and protect consumers. One year ago I called on the Bush Administration to take several steps to loosen the gas price noose, including suspending deliveries to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve; requesting an investigation of market failures and lack of competition; blocking mergers that allow oil companies to manipulate supplies; and implementing strong fuel economy standards to put more efficient and environmentally friendly cars on the road and lower consumption.

* An investigation by the Federal Trade Commission in August was inconclusive, and the White House has failed to take any steps to rein in oil companies or reduce gas prices. The energy bill we are considering this week also fails to responsibly tackle this problem, instead offering the same favors to oil companies. In the absence of effective leadership, consumers remain at the mercy of the price-gougers.

* That's why I have now appealed directly to the Federal Trade Commission and the Attorney General to launch a broader investigation to determine whether the oil companies have engaged in illegal or anti-competitive practices that contribute to the high gas prices.

* Additionally, I am fighting for passage of legislation known as the Gas Price Spike Act, that would implement a windfall tax when oil companies collect excessive profits, provide a tax credit for fuel efficient vehicles, and offer federal grants to reduce mass transit fares.

* I call on Congress and the Administration to support me in these efforts to inject fairness and competition into the market and end price gouging at the gas pump!

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