Washington Post: White House takes aim at oil industry as gas prices create economic and politics rifts

November 17, 2021 Media

President Biden on Wednesday called on the Federal Trade Commission to launch an investigation into oil and gas companies, alleging that their “anti-consumer” behavior has led to higher gas prices.

His attack, which top aides quickly amplified on social media, comes as the White House is attempting to hit back at critics who allege the Biden administration isn’t doing enough to counter GOP allegations that inflation and rising prices are holding back the economy. White House officials counter that the economy is in fact surging despite unease from many Americans.

“The bottom line is this: gasoline prices at the pump remain high, even though oil and gas companies’ costs are declining,” Biden wrote in a letter to FTC Chair Lina Khan. “The Federal Trade Commission has authority to consider whether illegal conduct is costing families at the pump. I believe you should do so immediately.”

“Gas would be cheaper if there were open and competitive markets in refining and among gas stations,” said Matt Stoller, an antitrust expert at the American Economic Liberties Project. “Competition policy is a core driver of inflation.”