File under "Election Yr.": Algore Charges Oil Cos. with "Goughing" : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

Wednesday June 21 9:37 AM ET
Gore Accuses Oil Companies of Price Gouging
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Vice President Al Gore (news - web sites), in an extremely strongly worded statement, is accusing oil companies of ``oil gouging and price fixing.''

The Democratic presidential candidate, alarmed at the steep increase in gasoline prices especially in crucial Midwestern swing states, called on federal government authorities to investigate oil companies.

``I am extremely concerned about the conduct of the oil companies that may have led to these unreasonable price increases,'' Gore said in a written statement issued late on Tuesday.

``We now know that, according to the latest available statistics, oil company profits have increased by as much as nearly 500 percent in the first part of this year. These enormous and unreasonable profits suggest that big oil is gouging American consumers,'' the statement said.
Gore said he had asked Energy Secretary Bill Richardson and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Carol Browner to convene a meeting of the governors of the most affected states, Republican and Democratic, to find out what they had learned and how the federal government could help them.

Oil prices have suddenly become an issue in this year's presidential campaign with gasoline prices at the pump rising sharply, threatening to hamper Gore's campaign based on the economic prosperity of the last eight years.

Gasoline prices have shot up in recent weeks nationwide but are as much as 40 cents a gallon higher in Illinois and Wisconsin than elsewhere.

The oil companies attribute the increase in those regions to pipeline problems earlier this year as well as new environmental regulations for cleaner fuel.

Some Republicans complain the Clinton-Gore administration has not been tough enough on members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and has allowed OPEC to raise the price of oil. OPEC was scheduled to meet on Wednesday to discuss the issue.

Gore trails Republican George W. Bush (news - web sites) by up to 10 percentage points in recent polls. Many analysts believe the race will stay close all the way to Election Day on Nov. 7 and will be decided in a swathe of Midwestern states including Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Missouri and Wisconsin


-- cpr (, June 21, 2000



Tuesday June 20 8:25 PM ET
White House Wants Better Explanation for Gas Prices

Reuters Photo
<P><A HREF=" .html">LINK</A><p>
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. oil companies blaming soaring gasoline prices in the Midwest on the federal government's stricter air pollution rules, need to ``come up with a better explanation,'' the White House said on Tuesday.

Retail gasoline prices have soared well above $2 a gallon in Chicago and Milwaukee in recent weeks, angering lawmakers and prompting an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

``We can't find a legitimate reason why the prices are as high as they are in Milwaukee and Chicago,'' said White House spokesman Joe Lockhart.

Oil industry experts have blamed the spike in retail prices on several things, including a Michigan pipeline problem and strict new federal rules requiring cleaner-burning or reformulated gasoline on June 1.

Lockhart dismissed the new air pollution rules as a reason for the big jump in retail gasoline prices.

``I think the gas companies need to work a little harder to come up with a better explanation for the American people,'' he said.

 Speak your mind
Discuss this story with other people.
[Start a Conversation]
(Requires Yahoo! Messenger)
U.S. oil companies need to share information with the FTC investigation aimed at getting to the bottom of the price mystery, he said. ``It's in everybody's interests for all parties to cooperate with what the FTC is doing.''

Although U.S. gasoline prices have risen dramatically, they are still well below prices paid by drivers in most European and Asian nations.

On Monday, the Energy Information Administration reported that the national average price of gasoline last week was $1.68 a gallon (44 cents a liter), up 56 cents a gallon from one year ago and the highest price since the government began keeping records a decade ago.

It said Midwest drivers continued to pay the most nationwide -- $1.87 a gallon for conventional gasoline and $2.00 for reformulated gasoline.

Several U.S. lawmakers have urged the Clinton administration to release oil from the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve to ease crude oil and gasoline prices that they say threaten the nation's economic growth and prosperity.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries meets later this week in Vienna to consider whether to increase its crude oil production.


-- cpr (, June 21, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ