Gas rip-off: Tens of thousands tell Congress to get tough with price-gouging!

Congress begins hearings today on H.R. 1252, a bill that would make gas price-gouging a federal crime, punishable by 10 years in the slammer. Nancy Pelosi said she'll move the bill to a vote this week if she gets the two-thirds majority she needs to fast track it through.

Price-gouging -- and its flip-side, manipulating prices downwards for electoral gains -- is the epitome of low-hanging fruit. High gas prices hurt, and they hurt ultra-nationalists and white evangelicals and security moms as much as anyone else.

Public Citizen estimates that Big Oil has taken in a quarter of a trillion in profits under the Bushies. Two-thirds of adults in a recent poll said gas prices had caused them "financial hardship."

Earlier this month, gas prices reached an all-time record high, beating out inflation-adjusted prices from 1981. When it comes to the energy sector, you have to be deeply brainwashed to believe the "hidden hand" of the market is at play.

The lowest prices at the gasoline pump for the entirety of 2006 hit during the week of the mid-term elections. They had dropped steadily for three months before Election Day -- average gas prices dropped by fifty cents, or 17 percent, between the end of August and the end of September -- they started rising again the week after votes were cast and they've been rising ever since.

Graph by Gandhi at Howard Death Watch, adapted from OPEC data.

What happened? A lot.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card


Thanks for your support!

Did you enjoy AlterNet this year? Join us! We're offering AlterNet ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. From now until March 15th.