Statement of Daniel J. Weiss
Senior Fellow and Director of Climate Strategy
The Consumer-First Energy bill would help families besieged by record gasoline and oil prices. This bill should lower oil prices by reigning in speculators that add “anywhere from about $7 to about $30 per barrel to the price of crude oil,” according to the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.
S. 3304 cracks down on speculators gone wild by making oil trades go through the New York Mercantile Exchange instead of unregulated offshore markets. In addition, it would require traders to put down more than a 5 percent margin when buying oil futures. Currently, $500,000 is enough to buy $10 million of oil futures.
President Bush has let prices and oil company profits skyrocket without lifting a finger to aid ordinary Americans. Senators Harry Reid (D-NV), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and others are filling his leadership vacuum by defending against speculators, price gougers, and market manipulators.
Ultimately, we need long-term investments in affordable transportation alternatives that use significantly less gasoline or oil. The windfall profits tax would spur investments in clean energy alternatives. The Senate should pass the Consumer-First Energy bill today.