DOE investigating escalating fuel prices

| 9/5/2003

The Energy Department wants to know if price gouging was involved in the unusually large gasoline price jumps that followed the Northeast power blackout and continued through the Labor Day weekend, The Associated Press reported.

Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham told lawmakers DOE began an inquiry to determine whether factors other than normal market conditions played a role in the price increases.

If irregularities are found, the information could be turned over to the Justice Department or the Federal Trade Commission.

Abraham told a House hearing on the electricity blackout that while gasoline prices normally increase in the days leading up to the heavily traveled Labor Day weekend, the recent price spikes ''struck me as being unusually large,'' prompting a decision to look into the matter.