By Ben Geman - 06/01/11 02:39 PM EDT
In April Obama announced that a Justice Department-led interagency task force would probe potential oil market abuses, and examine the role of speculators as well.
But Sanders said Obama should take a firmer stance on speculation as the CFTC regulations languish.
“He has talked about it occasionally, but I don’t think with the urgency it requires,” Sanders said.
“I think if the president got up there and said, you know what, we’re going to deal with this speculation. We’re going to deal it with now, we’re going to deal with it tomorrow, that would happen. He hasn’t done that,” Sanders said.
Average nationwide gasoline prices have backed off their highs in recent weeks of roughly $4 per gallon, but nonetheless remain far above levels at this time last year.
Gasoline prices are averaging $3.78, according to AAA, compared to $2.73 at this time last year.
Oil prices have also eased back somewhat after their sharp rise to roughly $113-per-barrel several weeks ago. Oil was trading at roughly $102-per-barrel on NYMEX Wednesday morning.
Sanders said the price retreat should not lessen attention to the role of speculation.
“There has been extraordinary volatility over the last three years of oil prices. Gone up, gone down, gone up,” he said in the interview. “This not a result of supply and demand. This is an issue we have to get a handle on or else it will simply keep repeating itself.”