Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) is following in her colleague Dianne Feinstein’s steps by calling for a federal investigation into record gas prices in California.
Boxer is urging the Department of Justice’s Oil and Gas Price Fraud Working Group to probe whether traders “colluded to manipulate and drive up gas prices.”
In a letter Monday to Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr., Boxer raised suspicions of “market manipulation.”
“Californians have too often been victimized as unscrupulous traders have created or taken advantage of supply disruptions to drive up energy prices,” she wrote.
She also requested that regulators look into maintenance issues that led to a power outage at Exxon Mobil’s Torrance refinery, a fire at Chevron’s Richmond facility and a shutdown of a Chevron pipeline.
“The situation in California is very serious,” Boxer wrote, alluding to stations suffering from shortages and consumers paying more than $5 for a gallon of regular gas at some pumps.
“These conditions are hitting families hard and hindering California’s economic recovery.”
On Sunday, Sen. Feinstein (D-Calif.) directed similar concerns at the Federal Trade Commission and demanded a separate inquiry.
A gallon of regular gas now costs $4.669 statewide, the third all-time high in a row.