Cantwell, Snowe, Rockefeller push FTC on gas prices

It presses the FTC to use 2009 rules – which stem from a 2007 energy law – that give the regulators enhanced power to crack down on anti-competitive practices in wholesale petroleum markets.

The lawmakers’ letter asks the FTC for information about its efforts to enforce the 2009 rule; steps the commission is taking or plans to take in response to recent market volatility in petroleum markets; and an update on the FTC’s work with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and other agencies to “prevent fraud or deceit in the petroleum market.”

“Unlike when gas prices spiked suspiciously in the summer of 2008, the Federal Trade Commission now has the necessary tools to be the cop on the beat protecting consumers from artificial gas price hikes,” said Cantwell, a key author of the 2007 FTC law, in a statement.

Gasoline prices are averaging over $3.58 per gallon, compared to $2.80 at this time last year, according to AAA.