Top U.S. Senate energy and environmental committee Republicans are asking Democrats for a joint hearing on the recent record increase of gasoline prices in California, including a per-gallon hike of 50 cents in just one week.
On Oct. 24, Energy and Natural Resources ranking member Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Environment and Public Works ranking member Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) wrote to their respective Democrat chairs on the two panels, stating "This isn't the first time we have heard about the difficulties created for families, businesses, and the country as a whole when gasoline and other energy prices increase. A hearing would not only provide committees of jurisdiction a better appreciation of what is going on, it would also inform longer-term policy decisions to reduce the changes of a recurrence of these types of events."
California Democrats have asked the Federal Trade Commission and others to investigate, suggesting price gouging and market manipulation as a cause. Murkowski and Inhofe said a combination of refinery outages, pipeline issues and California's unique fuel blend requirements "had a significant impact."