Energy Industry Experts Confirm To House Dems That Excessive Oil Speculation Is Driving Up Gas Prices
WASHINGTON – Yesterday, the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee held a hearing on gas prices and excessive oil speculation. The hearing was necessary because House Republicans have refused to address the issue that is costing American families billions every month.
Michael Greensberger, Professor at the University of Maryland Frances King Carey School of Law and former Director of the Division of Trading and Markets at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and Gene Guilford, President and CEO of the Independent Connecticut Petroleum Marketers Association (ICPA) provided expert testimony on the effects of excessive speculation in the energy markets.
Pointing out that speculators now make up 80% of the oil market, both Prof. Greensberger and Mr. Guilford confirmed that excessive speculation – “gambling” by Wall Street - not supply and demand is driving up the price of oil and poses a serious risk to the recovery of our economy.
Both witnesses testified that excessive speculation has a real, and dangerous effect on our economy. As Mr. Guilford explained, in just the last 90 days, excessive speculation has driven the cost at the pump up 92 cents a gallon. With Americans using 11 billion gallons of gasoline a month, Wall Street speculators are currently profiting from a $10 billion a month speculation “tax” on American consumers.
Prof. Greensberger and Mr. Guilford agreed that Congress can act to drive speculation out of the market and bring down prices at the pump. They called for 1) legislation to end the Wall Street gambling, 2) support for a prosecutorial investigation into market manipulation by the Department of Justice and other appropriate agencies, and 3) full funding of the CFTC to appropriately police the markets.