Economists And Experts Say Rising Gas Prices Are In Large Part Due To POTUS Pulling Out Of Iran And OPEC’s Decision To Cut Oil Production; Meanwhile, Oil Companies Used Their Windfall From President Trump’s Tax Law For Billion Dollar Buybacks, Benefiting Wealthy Shareholders And Corporate Execs, And Worker Layoffs In 2018


In New Letter To President Trump, Senate Democrats Urge POTUS To Take Immediate Action And Push OPEC To Increase Its Oil Supply Thereby Lowering Gas Prices At The Pump


New Markey Legislation Would Demand Trump Negotiate with OPEC, Hold It Accountable for Market Manipulations


Washington, DC – Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) sent a letter to President Trump today urging him to take immediate action to lower gas prices for American families ahead of Memorial Day weekend. In the new letter, the Senate Democrats outlined several specific actions President Trump could take immediately, including  pushing OPEC to increase its oil supply, which would lower gas prices and relieve Americans’ pain at the pump. The letter comes as Senator Markey introduced new legislation, the OPEC Accountability Act, designed to hold OPEC accountable and help lower gas prices.


Multiple energy insiders and experts have agreed that President Trump’s reckless agenda, including leaving the Iran deal, has caused gas prices to increase. “Withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal will support higher oil prices,” noted Canary LLC CEO Dan Eberhart. Additionally, according to Goldman Sachs Senior Economist Daan Struyven, “the estimated drag on consumption is significant because it should roughly cancel out the 2018 consumption boost from tax cuts and is particularly large on the lower end of the income distribution.”


Overall world crude oil prices have increased over 75 percent in the past year. With nearly 42 million Americans expected to drive this Memorial Day weekend, the highest number in more than a decade, Americans can expect to pay $167 more in fuel costs this summer compared to costs last year.  Democrats highlighted how any benefit middle-class families might have seen from the GOP tax bill is being wiped out by these higher gas prices.


Text of the Senate Democrats’ full letter can be found here.


A copy of Senator Markey’s OPEC Accountability Act can be found here.


To address these soaring gas prices,  Senate Democrats are specifically urging President Trump to:


        • Leverage his personal relationship with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman to urge Saudi Arabia to use their swing capacity to increase world oil supplies.
        • Send Energy Secretary Perry to the June 22, 2018, OPEC meeting in Vienna, Austria to personally communicate the importance of maintaining stable crude oil prices.
        • Initiate World Trade Organization dispute proceedings against countries engaged in anticompetitive practices that artificially inflate world oil prices.
        • Work with our European allies and China, which last year surpassed the United States as the world’s largest oil importer, to put pressure on oil exporting nations.
        • Direct the Federal Trade Commission, Commodities Futures Trading Commission, and the Department of Justice to exercise vigorous oversight over oil markets.
        • Maximize the use of more environmentally friendly and domestically produced biofuel alternatives by protecting the Renewable Fuel Standard.
        • Abandon the administration’s stated plan to roll back fuel economy standards that otherwise will save the average car owner more than $6,000 over the life of the car and cut the nation’s oil consumption by over two million barrels per day by 2025.


“The president who claimed ‘I alone can fix it’ has been missing in action when it comes to helping the middle-class families in this country get ahead,” said Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer. “Instead, since President Trump has been in office, American families have had to literally pay the price for his reckless actions again and again. Whether it’s by sabotaging the American health care system, sending health care premiums soaring, or by taking reckless actions that result in higher gas prices from coast to coast, President Trump and his administration are clearly more committed to helping pad the pockets of corporate executives and wealthy shareholders than helping middle-class families. It is time for this president to stand up to OPEC on behalf of the forgotten man and woman he promised to remember and do what is necessary to lower gas prices.”


“President Trump says his agenda is ‘America First’, but the policies he and Republicans are pursuing put Big Oil, OPEC, and Russia first and American consumers last,” said Senator Ed Markey. “I’m proud to introduce the OPEC Accountability Act to require President Trump to negotiate with OPEC, Russia and the Gulf nations to put an end to this cartel manipulating markets and harming American consumers.”


“Today, my colleagues and I are signing a letter calling on the President to pressure OPEC to increase world oil supplies, help lower the price at the pump, and save consumers money. We do not want to see the price of oil get more expensive as we go into the summer driving season,” said Senator Maria Cantwell.  “Seven of the biggest oil companies got 13 billion in new stock buybacks, and yet American consumers are facing three to maybe four dollars of gas price in the very near future. That sticker shock to the American family could get worse.”


“As geopolitical instability drives oil prices higher and higher across the globe, we are seeing first-hand the impact President Trump’s chaotic approach to foreign policy is having here at home as gas prices climb higher and higher,” said Senator Bob Menendez.  “He’s done nothing to pressure leaders in the Gulf to lift their cap on oil output let alone nominated an Ambassador to Saudi Arabia who can advocate for our interests.  He has no strategy for pursuing a diplomatic solution to the crises in Yemen or Syria, leading to more uncertainty and higher gas prices for American consumers.  At the same time, the President has given new tax breaks to Big Oil – on top of the billions in taxpayer subsidies they already enjoy.  It’s time President Trump live up to his promise to go to bat for American families. It’s time for President Trump to start direct negotiations with OPEC to stop artificially raising prices. It’s time Big Oil paid their fair share.  It’s time for this Administration to start working to make life easier for middle class families.”


Senator Markey’s OPEC Accountability Act would require the President to initiate consultations with the countries that make up the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), as well as the non-OPEC oil-producing countries, such as Russia, that have joined OPEC in the recent coordinated to reduce crude oil production. If these consultations do not succeed in ending OPEC and non-OPEC countries’ collusion on oil production and market manipulation, the bill instructs the United States Trade Representative to initiate dispute proceedings at the World Trade Organization.