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Biden Urges FTC to Investigate Gasoline Price Gouging at the Pump

The White House notes that the top-two U.S. gasoline companies have doubled pre-pandemic profits.
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Oil and gas companies are on notice after President Joe Biden asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether the industry is illegally and artificially keeping gasoline prices high. 

The White House sent a letter to FTC Chair Lina Khan Wednesday alleging that there is "mounting evidence of anti-consumer behavior" from the industry as the price of gasoline is rising despite the price of unrefined gas going down. 

“This unexplained large gap between the price of unfinished gasoline and the average price at the pump is well above the pre-pandemic average,” Biden's letter said. “Meanwhile, the largest oil and gas companies in America are generating significant profits off higher energy prices.”

The letter specifically called out the "two largest oil and gas companies" in the country, Exxon and Chevron, as being on track to nearly double their net income.

That is compared to pre-pandemic levels at the same time they have announced stock buybacks and dividend hikes.  

Shares of Exxon Mobil  (XOM) - Get Free Report , Chevron  (CVX) - Get Free Report, and BP  (BP) - Get Free Report on Wednesday declined 0.5% at last check, and ConocoPhillips  (COP) - Get Free Report was flat. 

The White House is asking the FTC to "bring all of the Commission's tools to bear if you uncover any wrongdoing," if it finds that "illegal conduct is costing families at the pump."

Separately, the Biden administration on Wednesday announced that it will auction off oil drilling rights to 80 million acres in the U.S. gulf of Mexico.