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Biden asks FTC to investigate oil and gas companies

President Joe Biden on Wednesday asked Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan to examine oil and gas companies and their role in rising gasoline prices.

Citing “potentially illegal conduct,” Biden said pump prices are rising even as industry costs are declining.

Details: “Usually, prices at the pump correspond to movements in the price of unfinished gasoline,“ Biden wrote in a letter to Khan. “But in the last month the price of unfinished gasoline is down more than 5 percent while gas prices at the pump are up 3 percent.”

“I do not accept hard-working Americans paying more for gas because of anti-competitive or otherwise potentially illegal conduct,” the president wrote. He asked Khan to “bring all of the commission‘s tools to bear if you uncover any wrongdoing.”

He cited the “two largest oil and gas companies“ in the U.S. without naming them — Exxon Mobil and Chevron.

Context: Gasoline prices have hit Americans hard, with regular unleaded jumping more than 60 percent from a year ago to an average $3.41 a gallon, according to the American Automobile Association.

The president has little control over pump prices, but Biden is caught in a period of rising inflation and weak favorability ratings. On Wednesday he’s going to Detroit to visit a General Motors factory that manufactures electric vehicles, which received a boost in the $1.2 trillion infrastructure act he signed into law Monday.

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