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Durbin Assails Price Gouging

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The U-S Senate’s number-two Democrat is blaming high gas prices on profit-hungry oil companies. Chicago Public Radio’s Gabriel Spitzer reports.

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The oil companies say the problem is expensive crude oil, higher consumer demand and the growth of boutique fuel blends.

Senator Dick Durbin says it has more to do with their balance sheets.

DURBIN: All of the excuses being given to us by the oil companies all disappear next to their bottom line. They are making record-breaking profits.

Durbin doesn’t hesitate to label it price gouging – even though recent investigations have come to different conclusions.

He says that’s part of a political dance – each year, regulators probe whether the companies are manipulating the markets.

DURBIN: Six months from now, they issue a report saying our findings are inconclusive. We can’t really point to any wrongdoing on their part, have a nice day. And that’s what’s happened year after year after year, for 10 straight years.

The American Petroleum Institute points to a recent industry-funded study by a university professor. It ruled out gouging as a factor in higher prices.

I’m Gabriel Spitzer, Chicago Public Radio.

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