Whatever happened to those Congressional investigations on oil price gouging?

You know, the investigations where they trotted up CEOs of oil companies, and commodities ‘speculators’, to Capital Hill to grill them on how they were manipulating markets and causing high gas prices to squeeze American citizens.

What ever happened to that? Did anybody ever follow up on that? That seemed like pretty important work to me. I’m surprised they didn’t stick with that and follow it through.

I think these type of probes have occurred before, and (as usual) nothing happens.

Oil guys are just too wily for mere pols to nail them for anything, even jay walking.

Yeah. They are wily. But shouldn’t they be using all of their wiles right now, as the price of oil and gas plummets, to their own benefit?

They are seeing billions of dollars in profits go right out the door as we speak. Shouldn’t they get especially wily right now and conspire to fix the dickens out of prices to stem the tide?

/Nutty theory/ They are still filling political coffers with grease, while the other companies that used to fill those coffers went belly up they are now being investigated. Nothing for the politicians to lose, only gain.

Real reason seems to be that it was harder to do than talk about. Some different rules and such that make it really hard to find out who did what let alone if anyone was to blame. I’ll try to find the links to the articles I was reading about it. So to this thread I shall return.

And yea, verily, so shall RyJae return. It has been written.

I look forward to it. :slight_smile:

Just on your nutty theory part: what were the oil companies getting for their coffer-filling efforts? That part isn’t clear to me at all. If they were getting something, shouldn’t they be using ‘the something’ now to fix prices as their profits plummet?

I forgot about you, but I am back. :stuck_out_tongue: I couldn’t find the exact articles I read but I do know it had to do something with the Commodity Futures Modernization Act.

Darned if I could find it again though. Now about my nutty theory, the money they gave allowed them a few years of record profits. That’s what they got.

If oil conglomerates can make record profits without the realistic possibility of taking record losses it is very possible that they have too much market power (someone else is bearing some of the risk), but I don’t know how Congress could possibly determine this, or how it could hold them accountable. I’m a little concerned over it, but not overly so. It’s a pretty competitive market. I don’t believe much in the term “price gouging.” If demand rises and supply falls, what do people propose should happen instead of the price rising?

I wouldn’t call 9% return on investment a record profit. That would be like saying the Federal Government takes in record taxes because the economy grows. Whatever gross figure they post it will always be between 6% and 10% profit.

It’s a public desplay for the voters just like the debate about offshore drilling was. Congress made a lot of noise but it when the time came to renew the restrictions they didn’t vote on it.

Gas here is now $3.07/gal. When the prices started falling, so did the public outcry & the Congressional impetus to act.

If it gets down to around $2.50, people will be giving oil execs ticker tape parades.

Maybe it all died down, because even the dimmest congressmen realized that the gasoline market, with multiple suppliers, supply issues, and increasing demand, of course results in price increases? Just maybe?

Thanks for the post.

That’s really interesting. So are you saying that gas prices went up, and gas prices went down, based on factors that seem to be outside oil companies executives control? Based on supply and demand?

And that Congress resisted the temptation - whatever that might have been - to ‘do something’ and the issue seems to be sorting itself out?

That’s amazing. I never would have guessed that would have happened. I would have thought Congress would have needed to impose a new set of regulations, or create a Federal Gasoline Oversight Department, or twiddle with line-items on income tax returns for gas price rebates or something like that.

But instead, it looks like they did nothing. Hmmmm. That’s interesting. I’ll have to file this one away for future reference.

Congress doing nothing is news? :smiley: