Efforts to crack down on excessive speculation leading to the recent rise in gasoline prices was announced by Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown in a telephone news conference Wednesday afternoon. As media representatives from across the state joined in on the conference, Brown shared his thoughts on the current situation of high gas prices.
“Typically, we see gas prices go up in the summer when more people are on the road. It is extremely troubling to see Wall Street continue to make things worse through its speculation of the oil markets,” said Brown. “Every time there is a fire at a refinery, an outage in a pipeline or turmoil in the Middle East, Wall Street and the oil industry use this as an opportunity to spike prices.”
Recent reports have shown that Wall Street betting adds a 56-cent premium to the price of a gallon of gasoline. Brown explained that crude oil futures prices are dictated by speculative bets on futures exchanges and unregulated swaps markets.
“This means higher prices for consumers at the pump,” said Brown. “For certain small businesses, higher gas prices don’t just mean lower profits, it means less money spent on other things.”
Brown’s efforts to combat what he calls “excessive speculation” has recently meant asking the U.S. Attorney General to adhere to the work of the Justice Department Task Force charged with fighting oil speculation. “We must fully enforce the Wall Street Reform Law,” said Brown, who stated that no regulations yet exist to protect consumers from Wall Street betting which affects gasoline prices.