Senator Byron Dorgan, D-ND, has called for the Federal Trade Commission
to begin a formal investigation of oil and gas prices. Not only that, but he
wants oil companies to pay back some of the money they’ve made in recent years.
Sen. Dorgan called for the investigation before Hurricane Katrina drove
fuel prices into the stratosphere, but he told Land
Line that there is an even greater need now for something to be
“I know that there’s not a free market with respect to the price of
oil,” he said. “The price of oil is controlled by the OPEC countries and there
is rampant speculation.”
Dorgan said those factors have led to “dramatic windfall profits” for
all of the major oil companies.
“In the last 18 months, the price of oil has gone up over $30 a
barrel,” he said. “That means the major oil companies, not having one additional
penny of additional costs, have experienced $7 billion a month in additional
profits. That’s $80 billion a year that comes at the expense of consumers.”
Dorgan is proposing a windfall profit tax that would recapture some of
that money and return it to the consumers.
“I believe it’s unfair and it ought to be recaptured and rebated to
consumers,” he said.
Dorgan said the only oil companies that would be exempt from the tax
are those who take their windfall profits and invest them in exploring for new
sources of oil or increasing refinery capacity.
By Terry Scruton,
Staff writer Reed Black contributed
to this report