"Families and businesses in Maryland and across the country need immediate relief from gasoline price spikes and assurances they are not being gouged during this time of national crisis."
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD), sent the following letter to President Bush today in response to soaring gas prices and reports of price-gouging. Senator Mikulski urged President Bush to direct administration officials to immediately investigate unfair practices at the pump.
The text of the letter follows:
September 2, 2005
The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
In response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, people all over America and throughout the world are answering the call for help. Unfortunately, there are reports that some are taking advantage of this crisis by exploiting consumers at the gasoline pump. I urge you to immediately direct the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice to investigate price-gouging complaints and take appropriate actions to protect the American people from unfair practices at the pump.
Families and businesses in Maryland and across the country need immediate relief from gasoline price spikes and assurances they are not being gouged during this time of national crisis. As of this morning, the average price of regular unleaded gasoline in Maryland was $2.92 per gallon, with prices expected to surpass $3.00 per gallon over the Labor Day weekend. That is more than a 60 cent increase per gallon from just one month ago. The Department of Energy received more than 5,000 calls yesterday to its price-gouging hotline. My office has received hundreds of calls this week from constituents who are frustrated by the price spikes in gasoline and by the fluctuations in prices from one service station to another.
For more than a year I urged you to consider short-term steps to increase crude oil supplies, including releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), and urging our OPEC allies to maximize output. I am pleased that the Administration finally agreed to release oil from the SPR, but more needs to be done to ensure that consumers are not taken advantage of during this difficult time.
I urge you direct the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice to exercise vigorous oversight on gasoline price spikes to protect the American people from price-gouging and unfair practices at the pump.
Barbara A. Mikulski
United States Senator