WASHINGTON, July 29 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today told federal regulators considering limits on oil price speculation that consumers are “sick of a Wall Street that is allowed to make a fortune betting that the price of oil will go up while millions of Americans pay the price at the gas pump.”
Sanders testified at a hearing of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission after Chairman Gary Gensler said his agency must "seriously consider" setting "strict" new limits on traders who place bets on energy contracts.
Sanders has introduced legislation that would require the commission to exercise emergency powers to limit speculation. His bill would direct the commission to stop sudden or unreasonable fluctuations or unwarranted changes in prices. It would subject bank holding companies engaged in energy futures trading to strict limits, and require hedge funds trading in energy markets to register with the CFTC and make them subject to strict speculation limits.
Testifying at the hearing at the commission’s headquarters, Sanders praised Gensler for not waiting for Congress to act.
“The bottom line is that we have got to make sure that Americans are no longer ripped off at the gas pump by some of the same Wall Street gamblers responsible for the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression,” Sanders testified.
Oil prices have defied supply-and-demand principles. “Right now.” Sanders said, “the supply of oil in the United States is at an all-time high and demand for oil in this country is lower today than it was a decade ago. Yet, instead of seeing prices go down, crude oil prices have more than doubled since Christmas eve.”
Pump prices for gasoline tracked the run-up in crude oil prices. From April to June 24th of this year, gasoline prices increased 54 days in a row, the longest streak in more than a decade.
To read the senator’s testimony, click here.