Senate Judiciary Committee To Examine Explosive Rise In Oil Prices

WASHINGTON (Wednesday, May 7, 2008) – The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing later this month to examine the rising price of crude oil and its effect on gas prices across the country, Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced today.

In a hearing scheduled for May 21, the Judiciary Committee will examine how the price of crude oil – unrefined petroleum that is processed and used as gasoline to power vehicles, airplanes and farm equipment – affects the price consumers pay at gasoline stations across the country and around the world.  The oil industry has argued that the rising gas prices are the result of the dramatic increase in crude oil prices.  Executives from some of the world’s top players in the oil industry are expected to testify at the hearing.

“American consumers continue to pay the price at the pump, while oil companies post record profits,” said Leahy.  “With food and transportation prices rising with the exploding price of oil, it is important to hear what the multi-billion dollar oil companies are doing to help ease the crunch, and consider what actions the federal government should take to help consumers.”

Several of the world’s leading oil companies have posted record quarterly profits in the last year, due in large part to the soaring price of crude oil.  The Judiciary Committee will examine the causes of skyrocketing crude oil prices, including speculation and manipulation of the oil commodity market, anticompetitive practices by OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries), artificial limits on supply, and the oil industry’s failure to pursue alternative fuels.

The per-gallon price of regular-grade gas has skyrocketed in recent months, averaging $3.61 nationally on Monday, according the Energy Information Administration, and up 33 cents since March 31.  The price of crude oil, just over $32 per barrel when President Bush took office, has risen above $120 per barrel.


The hearing will be held May 21 at 10:00 a.m. in room 226 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building.  Non-credentialed members of the press should contact the Senate Press Galleries for information on how to attend the hearing. 


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The Senate Committee on the Judiciary has scheduled a hearing on Exploring the Skyrocketing Price of Oil for Wednesday, May 21, 2008 at 10:00 a.m. in Room 226 of the Senate Dirksen Office Building.


By order of the Chairman

Press Contact

David Carle: 202-224-3693