Bush Administration and Congress Toast Energy Bill Anniversary While Consumers Get Roasted at the Pump
“The President and our congressional leaders ought to
postpone celebrating a policy that’s hurting average families and instead
pass new legislation that gives consumers meaningful relief. Filling
champagne glasses in
Granholm pointed out that with average gasoline prices passing $3.00 this week, Americans are paying almost 60 percent more than they were in May, 2004. At that time, the White House said that the President “believes, like Americans do, that gas prices are too high.” The White House blamed high gas prices on the fact that Congress had not yet passed the President’s energy bill. In early 2004, the average price of gas was $1.76 per gallon.
“I challenge President Bush and Republican congressional leaders to take meaningful federal action to reduce record-high gas prices. Almost 300,000 Michiganians joined me in asking for the President to act by signing my gas price petition to lower gas prices and cap corporate oil profits,” Granholm added.
Granholm has taken several actions to protect consumers from rising gas prices in addition to calling on the President to cap oil profits in September 2005 and again in her 2006 State of the State message. Over the past three years, Granholm has:
• increased gas pump inspections and called for legislation to require gas station operators prove their pumps have been calibrated and are working properly when they apply for renewal of their operator’s license – state law requires that licenses are renewed annually;
• sent a letter to the federal Commodities Futures Trading Commission requesting they conduct an inquiry into all contributing factors in price spikes, including any role speculators have played in driving the inflation-adjusted price of oil and gasoline toward historic high levels;
• signed executive orders temporarily suspending state laws restricting the supply of gasoline and increasing the diesel fuel supply and called on Marathon Oil Corporation to reduce the price of gas for Michigan customers, an action that resulted in an immediate drop in the price of gas by the company – steps taken in the wake of Hurricane Katrina;
• directed the Michigan Department of Agriculture to conduct routine surveys of gasoline prices and directed the department to refer information about potential unfair pricing practices to prosecutors for possible legal action – a step that led to the felony conviction of a Macomb County service station caught defrauding customers;
• supported legislation to add a legal cause of action to the Michigan Consumer Protection Act that would expressly ban the practice of price gouging during states of emergency declared by the Governor.
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