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Democrats Urge DOJ to Probe Alleged Oil Industry Price Fixing

 |  June 4, 2024

A coalition of Democratic U.S. House representatives has called on the Justice Department to investigate allegations of antitrust behavior among American oil producers and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

In a letter addressed to Attorney General Merrick Garland on Tuesday, the lawmakers accused Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp., the two largest U.S. oil companies, of conspiring to keep fuel prices high, thereby inflating their profits at the expense of American consumers.

The request for an investigation was spurred by a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) complaint filed in May, which accused the former CEO of Pioneer Resources of orchestrating a scheme to coordinate pricing between U.S. oil companies and foreign producers.

The letter, led by Representative Jerrold Nadler, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, emphasized the substantial profits recorded by Exxon Mobil and Chevron last year as further evidence of potential anticompetitive practices.

Related: Agri Stats Must Face Price-Fixing Lawsuit, Judge Rules

“Major oil producers appear to be colluding with each other and foreign cartels to keep prices high, padding their profits at the expense of American consumers,” the lawmakers stated in their letter. They urged the Justice Department to leverage its full authority to investigate and, if necessary, prosecute such conduct.

The letter highlights concerns that, rather than passing on their profits to consumers through reduced prices, Exxon and Chevron have been profiteering by maintaining high fuel prices. “But apparently, instead of passing those profits through to consumers in the form of cheaper products, the oil giants have been lining their own pockets while conspiring to keep prices high,” the lawmakers wrote.

Exxon Mobil and Chevron did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Similarly, OPEC has not yet issued a statement regarding the allegations.

Source: Reuters