Senate Grandstanding on Oil

This is very depressing. Does it bother anyone making these causation claims that the prices didn't really go up that much until after Katrina? Can anyone discuss the changes in supply that have occurred? More importantly, it is not just the US price that has gone up, it is the world price that has gone up. If these politicians were right the gap between the US retail price and the world price should have gone up, and there seems to be no evidence of that. The only saving grace for Republicans is that the Democrats are even worse.

Senator Arlen Specter, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called the hearings to examine whether mergers in the oil and gas industry had resulted in higher gasoline prices at the pump.

Gasoline prices jumped above $3 a gallon after Hurricane Katrina last summer and are now about $2.37 a gallon. They have risen by 60 percent in the last five years.

"We do know that there have been mergers and that gasoline prices have risen," Senator Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, said in his opening remarks. . . .

Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, said that the degree of competition and the amount of market power held by oil companies following the mergers raised "really serious questions."

"Although each of these mergers reduced the companies' costs they were nevertheless followed by increases in the costs to consumers," she said. . . .


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