Press Releases

House Passes Rep. Katie Porter’s Legislation to Lower Gas Prices

Congresswoman’s bill would hold Big Oil accountable for price gouging families at the pump

WASHINGTON—The House of Representatives today passed Congresswoman Katie Porter (D-CA)’s legislation to crack down on Big Oil’s predatory price increases at the pump. The Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act, co-led by Congresswoman Kim Schrier (D-WA), would lower gas prices by making exploitative price hikes unlawful, holding market manipulators accountable, and boosting transparency in the oil and gas market.

“I’m a proud capitalist, and what we’re experiencing with fuel prices is the result of a broken market,” said Rep. Porter, Chair of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight. “Big Oil executives are bragging to shareholders about price gouging families at the pump. They’re purposely keeping supply low to earn record-high profits, squeezing families—and our entire economy—in the process. I’m glad my House colleagues share my commitment to holding the industry accountable and lowering costs for families.”

Fossil fuel executives have admitted to deliberately keeping supply artificially low to juice profits. The industry currently sits on more than 9,000 approved but unused drilling permits on 13.9 million acres of U.S. public lands. 

Big Oil continues to raise prices at the pump despite unused permits and sky-high profits. Shell, one of the largest oil companies in the world, recently announced a record-breaking $9.1 billion in quarterly profit—an amount nearly triple the $3.2 billion earned a year earlier. Exxon Mobil and Chevron have recently pledged to use their high revenues to enrich shareholders, announcing $30 billion and $10 billion in stock buybacks, respectively, by the end of the year.

“At a time when people in my district and across the country are feeling the pain of high prices at the gas pump, Congress needs to be doing all we can to bring down costs,” said Rep. Schrier. “Gas prices in my neighborhood were already high at $5/ gallon two weeks ago. Now, for no apparent reason, prices are up another 10% in the last week, at $5.50/ gallon. Meanwhile, neither the price of a barrel of oil nor the cost of refining have changed appreciably. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) needs to have the power to investigate and crack down when there is evidence of real gouging.”

Watch Congresswoman Porter debate the Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act HERE. A high-resolution video is available for download HERE.

The Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act, which would be the first-ever federal law against price gouging, would:

  • Grant the president the power to declare “an energy emergency proclamation;”
  • Make it illegal to sell consumer fuels (car fuel, aviation fuel, and home heating oil and liquid propane) at an excessive and exploitative price during an energy emergency;
  • Give the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) the power to issue penalties to fuel wholesalers and retailers for price gouging;
  • Prioritize enforcement action to large companies with total sales of over $500 million per year;
  • Give all states the power to go after price gougers at the retail level;
  • Direct penalties collected to a Consumer Relief Trust Fund, which can be used for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) to help further lower costs for consumers; and
  • Protect independently owned gas stations from taking the blame for price gouging at wholesale or increased costs throughout the supply chain since they have no control over these costs;

Porter’s legislation would also hold market manipulators accountable and boost transparency in the industry by:

  • Strengthening government oversight and enhancing the FTC’s authority to go after false market information designed to artificially inflate prices;
  • Doubling the maximum penalty for manipulating wholesale oil markets to up to $2 million a day for each violation; and
  • Improving market transparency and competition by directing the Energy Information Administration to collect and publish information related to the quantity and pricing of transportation fuels to facilitate transparency, fair competition, and compliance with relevant international sanctions.

The Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act is supported by a coalition of environmental groups including Accountable.US, Earthjustice, League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Sierra Club.

 “This year is shaping up to be even better than the last for the oil and gas industry. Unfortunately for consumers, good news for Big Oil’s bottom line never seems to be good news for them,” said Jordan Schreiber, director of energy and environment at Accountable.US. “Oil and gas giants like Halliburton admit it’s in their best interest to create a perpetual threat of undersupply to keep consumer prices high and their insane profits rolling in. It is time for Congress to hold the oil and gas industry accountable for its reckless price gouging and profiteering.”

Congresswoman Porter has consistently fought to hold Big Oil accountable for exploiting families and taxpayers. In March, she helped spearhead legislation, the Big Oil Windfall Profits Tax Act, that would crack down on profiteering at the pump and use the revenue to provide relief to families. She’s introduced a bill, the Ending Taxpayer Welfare for Oil and Gas Companies Act, to raise fees on polluters extracting from public lands. Porter has also confronted Big Oil executives, including the CEOs of BP, Exxon Mobil, Shell, and Chevron, directly about the industry’s predatory behavior.

A video of Congresswoman Porter debating the Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act can be watched HERE. A high-resolution video is available for download HERE.