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McCaskill calls for oil price investigation

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- You're not the only one upset about the price of gasoline. Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill says U.S. oil refinery companies are cutting back to keep prices artificially high.

McCaskill is one of four senators who have signed a letter addressed to the Federal Trade Commission's Jon Leibowitz calling for an investigation into any wrongdoing, as well as the impact the action may be having on gas prices. In the letter, McCaskill says she is concerned that while gasoline use continues to decline, U.S. inventories remain below average and refining margins continue to rise.

"At a time when major refiners and oil companies are making record profits and American families continue to struggle with gasoline at record prices, the idea that refiners may be manipulating the market to keep prices artificially high is offensive," wrote McCaskill. "It is incumbent upon the Commission to ensure that the American people are protected from this type of manipulation."

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You want to help me? Drop the $.30/gallon tax. Your profit margins (taxes) for something you have no money in, are incredibly high.

-- Posted by chem1 on Tue, May 17, 2011, at 12:50 PM

Scumbag is too kind a moniker for this grotesque sub-human.

"I know a great way of helping the market. All I need to do is stick my fat f'n dimpled keister in the middle of it!"

Don't think for a minute that this gray - I mean - blonde haired thief doesn't know that she's making it more difficult on the poor. Don't fall for the bait. She thinks of you as the slave you are.

-- Posted by uberfan20 on Tue, May 17, 2011, at 1:25 PM

and if she was a republican you'd all be kissing her butt.

-- Posted by the_eye on Tue, May 17, 2011, at 1:29 PM

Typical, screaming about closing the gate after the cows have long been gone.

-- Posted by djinx on Tue, May 17, 2011, at 1:31 PM

reminds me sort of how OJ was going to go out looking for the murderer...

-- Posted by TommyStix on Tue, May 17, 2011, at 2:05 PM

I think Emerson is just as, if not more, loathsome.

-- Posted by uberfan20 on Tue, May 17, 2011, at 2:44 PM

I'd just like to be appointed to the committee.

"Here's $50 million. Tell us if oil companies are looking out for their profits or for the American people."

"I might need more time and money for my research, I'll get back to you on that."

-- Posted by Professor_Bubba on Tue, May 17, 2011, at 3:04 PM

I'm embarrased everytime she does an interview or even speaks. Why does she have to be from here? Lets find a liberal with the lowest IQ and put them in office :) We did it Missouri!

-- Posted by Shibney on Tue, May 17, 2011, at 3:13 PM

Some of you people are unbelievable. She puts forth an idea and you criticize. If she doesn't do anything you criticize. Good grief, get a life.

-- Posted by howdydoody on Tue, May 17, 2011, at 3:26 PM

When I read this article, I thought, "Great! Someone needs to be checking on these oil companies who continue to make record profits." Then I read all these bellyachers comments. She's not the right political party to make a good decision. Or she's too gray-headed or too blond. Come on people! Don't be part of the problem. Don't be haters. Is it possible she is doing something good? I say, Hurray to Claire McCaskill. She's not of my political party, but she still is doing a good thing.

-- Posted by caperocklady on Tue, May 17, 2011, at 3:32 PM

I got the same "post negative comments" email that those posting above received. I chose not to do as I was told!

It's not that people just willy-nilly post hatred. There is a coordinated effort--political hait baiting--behind it. I love the new American way...NOT.

-- Posted by Just_Wondering1 on Tue, May 17, 2011, at 3:58 PM

Claire should focus on a commission to get people who don't pay their taxes... ooops!!! She falls into that category. Sorry Claire, why didn't you introduce this dog-n-pony show in the past 4 years? Why just do this 1 year before your election???

-- Posted by Dug on Tue, May 17, 2011, at 5:22 PM

Do we need a study?

1. Obama put a moratorium on offshore drilling.

2. The Obama administration allowed Wall Street speculators to get in the oil market with too small of margins.

3. Bush and Obama's stimulus programs/bank bailouts/wars ballooned the deficit. No one would buy our debt, so the Fed printed money to cover it. This glut of money devalued the dollar worldwide and our enemies want a higher oil price to afford goods (like food) for their populations.

Claire was aware this would come since, I don't know, 1974, when we experienced the OPEC oil embargo. When will we as a nation learn that energy independence, specifically drilling for our own oil, will increase employment and decrease our necessity to be involved abroad?

-- Posted by nolimitsonthought on Tue, May 17, 2011, at 5:26 PM

Another consideration - "Sometimes the demand for gas puts a strain on refinery capacity. This often happens in the spring, when refinery maintenance is typically conducted. While maintenance is performed, the gas market may tighten, resulting in a rise in the price of gas. Fortunately, refineries are usually finished with maintenance by the end of May". from http://www.wisegeek.com/how-is-the-price...

-- Posted by fxpwt on Tue, May 17, 2011, at 5:50 PM

We love to complain when gas prices go up. But we continue to buy bigger gas guzzlers, move further out from our jobs, make 6 trips to the groccery story on a weekend, and continue to bet on gasoline futures on the stock market exchange. Most of us, judging by the comments on this forum, understand that what Claire is doing is what every other politician likes to do - grandstanding by calling for these investigations just to win over a few votes, when in reality these kind of investigations lead nowhere. Yes, oil companies are raking in record profits, but as stockholders in these oil companies we love to see that. We seem to think there is some kind of conspiracy with a half-dozen or so big rich fat cats controlling the price of gasoline at the pump. We don't seem to understand it is us who have to make some hard choices in the coming months to save ourselves, our government, and our environment. As has been proven, economies always comes and goes in cycles, regardless of who is our president - likewise, the price of limited resources is adjusted to meet the demands at the best profit. This is what we signed up for as a free market society.

-- Posted by Beaker on Tue, May 17, 2011, at 7:56 PM

1. US imports most oil from Canada. Dollar is weakest is been against Canadian dollar in how long? US imports second largest amount from Middle East and how stable is that region? How stable or even how much is available to sale to us from Venezuela etc? Companies hedge prices in advance through speculators to guarantee supply and prices in the future. Not all "speculation" is bad. What is bad is weak foreign policy and uncertainty. What is bad is the Federal Reserve intentionally devaluing the US dollar so other countries will buy US goods (in theory, but has always ended up in inflation which hurts poor the worst). If gallon of oil cost the same in another country's currency, but it takes more dollars to buy it, the price of oil is NOT going up the dollar is going down. Thank you very much Mr. Bernanke, Mr. Geitner and President Obama!

2. Law of supply and demand determines price to a great extent. (OPEC however does operate as monopoly and artifically sets both bc only bc market allows it). CHINA is now a large purchaser of petroleum products bc it cannot build electric plants to service cities far apart bc current jumps off the transmission lines. So, it runs generators off diesel engines. That is why diesel fuel has been higher than gasoline lately, even though gasoline a more highly refined and costlier product. There is more DEMAND for diesel fuel thanks to China. (another reason irrelevant what US does to reduce emissions until China and India stops adding more than US keeps subtracting).

3. The EPA hasn't allowed a new refinery to be built in USA in decades. They are all in Louisiana and Texas. The ones in La. are in danger flood damage or at least some some interruption in their supply and distribution lines. The Mississippi has been close to or above flood stage for months. Hurricane season is approaching. "Speculators" who hedge the price (for every "put" there is a "call") are taking that risk.

4. Obama cut off offshore drilling and EPA issued regulations which made Shell abandon $4 billion project in Alaska. Drilling permits in West and Alaska almost non-existent. Several large drill rigs left Gulf and no guarantee can get back anytime soon.


6. Congress can waste time removing historical tax credits and incentives if they want to. Any increase in cost will simply be passed back to the consumer. When will Congress stop and think that every time they raise a tax on a company the company simply passes it back to the consumer. Usually that hurts the poor the most. The percentage of a low or middle class family's income spent on gas is usually MUCH higher than the percentage of a very wealthy family. Raise the tax on oil companies and how is Congress hurting? Tax the rich more? They will take their vacactions overseas instead of driving their SUV's, dining, staying in hotels, and shopping in Aspen. Who does that hurt?

7. How about lets expand the economy so everyone can climb the ladder (and afford to help pay for safety net for those who can't) and expand drilling, and expand and diversify refining locations, and use natural gas to long-haul trucks and local delivery trucks and decrease use of diesel, etc. etc. etc.

8. BTW, Suadi Arabia has increased its production significantly recently to help keep prices down. Are they trying to be nice? No, the looked over at what almost happened in Bahrain (and may still happen) and the royal family is scared. They want to the US to come help them if they have civil unrest or if other Muslim countries attack them. What do we do in response? Drop the value of the dollar some more!!!!!! $600 Billion of collatorilzed debt for the each of the past 2 quarters and planned again for the next quarter! And we can already see and feel the inflationary effect. As the German Minister of Finance said, "that man has no idea what he is doing."

9. Claire, you don't need to look at the oil companies. You need to go see your buddies at the Treasury, the White House, the Fed, and EPA.

Even Jimmy Carter can explain this one to you!

-- Posted by casual_observer1 on Tue, May 17, 2011, at 11:08 PM

For those that don't get it, please read, really read "casual's" commentary. Those are facts; not what someone "feels" about the subject. "McCastle", like all politicians will tell you what is wrong and who is to blame but lack a true understanding of the problem and what to do about it. Just to get elected. She and her boy do know how to run for public office, they just don't know what to do while in office.

-- Posted by jadip4me on Wed, May 18, 2011, at 8:52 AM

Good post by casual_observer1

-- Posted by dollbabies on Wed, May 18, 2011, at 9:40 AM

I love it when these politicians support policies that destroy and then want to investigate like they had nothing to do with it.

The fact is that private oil companies control about 5 percent of the world's oil. The rest is controlled by governments.

If they want oil prices to come down, they have to at least act like they are interested in producing more oil.

-- Posted by B_O_B on Fri, May 20, 2011, at 9:32 AM

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