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Congressman Cole Appointed to Gas Price Task Force

September 23, 2005
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole was appointed to the Gas Price Task Force yesterday by House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (Mo.). This task force will be dedicated to immediate action to ease the widespread fuel supply crisis occurring throughout much of the nation.

"I am looking forward to working with this task force to better understand the sharp increase in gas prices and find practical solutions that will ease the prices at the pump," Congressman Tom Cole said.  "The nation has been seeing steadily increasing gas prices over the past year and more recently a big jump in prices due to Hurricane Katrina. This task force is even more critical as Hurricane Rita powers toward Texas where a large percentage of our nation's refineries our located."

"I am very pleased that Congressman Cole joined our task force to help address this serious issue. Oklahoma is a large oil and gas producing state and his insight will be beneficial to our task force," Majority Whip Roy Blunt said. "In the wake of the Katrina Disaster, the information drawn from this Task Force will help us find reasonable solutions to rising prices, helping Americans and their families now and in the future."

The Gas Price Task Force, comprised of Blunt and Representatives Vito Fossella (N.Y.), Steve Pearce (NM), Darrell Issa (Calif.), Robin Hayes (N.C.), Paul Ryan (Wisc.),  Jerry Moran (KS), Jack Kingston (GA) and Eric Cantor (Va.) and Tom Cole (OK) plan to work together to find solutions on pricing, supply, and regulatory issues.

"We want to make sure the recent spike in gas prices is just that, and not an enduring trend. The Energy Policy Act of 2005, passed by Congress in July, will help alleviate some of these problems long term, but we need to help people now," Congressman Tom Cole said.

The Gas Price Task Force sent a letter to Federal Trade Commission Chair Deborah Platt Majoras  asking her to report on the following questions:

  • What has the FTC’s Gasoline Price Monitoring Project revealed in the weeks since Hurricane Katrina? 
  • What is the FTC’s analysis on the fluctuation of prices at the wholesale level since Hurricane Katrina?
  • Can the FTC provide an analysis of changes in gasoline inventories the week before Hurricane Katrina and the week following Hurricane Katrina?  Is there an analysis of how inventories affected price?
  • Data indicates that while prices jumped 44 cents between August 29 and September 2 for branded stations – or those flying the flag of a major refiner – wholesale prices for unbranded (independent) stores rose 73 cents per gallon.  What is the FTC’s explanation for such a large discrepancy?