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June 05, 2024

Schiff, Nadler Urge DOJ to Investigate Oil and Gas Price Fixing, Demand Response on Sufficiency of Antitrust Laws

Washington, D.C.—  Today, Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) joined Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and eight Democratic colleagues in sending a letter to the Department of Justice, urging the agency to immediately open an investigation into potential antitrust conspiracies among U.S. oil producers, OPEC, and OPEC+.

In the letter, the members explain: “Gas prices today average $3.60 per gallon, up from last year. As Americans contend with the rising cost of living, prices at the pump play a major role. In a single month last year, rising gas prices made up more than half of the overall increase in the rate of inflation. Moreover, by raising production and transportation costs, higher oil prices raise prices across the economy. For the average American, high oil prices can make the difference in whether they can afford to take a family trip by car or how far their dollar will stretch at the grocery store.

“By any measure, these are good times for oil companies in the United States. Last year, the two largest U.S. oil companies, Exxon Mobil Corp. (“Exxon”) and Chevron Corp. (“Chevron”), both earned their biggest annual profits in a decade. But apparently, instead of passing those profits through to consumers in the form of cheaper products, the oil giants have been lining their own pockets while conspiring to keep prices high.”

To determine whether there are more widespread price-fixing conspiracies outside of the one uncovered recently by the Federal Trade Commission in its recent review of Exxon Mobil Corp.’s acquisition of oil producer Pioneer Natural Resources, the members urge the DOJ to investigate rigorously to uncover and punish wrongdoing. As the members note: “If U.S. oil companies are colluding with each other and foreign cartels to manipulate global oil markets and harm American consumers who then pay more at the pump, Congress and the American people deserve to know.”

The Department of Justice has until June 18th to respond to the members’ questions regarding the efficacy of our nation’s antitrust laws and sufficiency of resources to combat these harms and how the Department is coordinating with the FTC.

Read the letter here.