White House calls on OPEC+ to do more to combat rising gas prices

The Biden administration is calling on the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies like Russia to do more to combat rising energy prices, an effort that comes as gas prices are at a seven-year high.

Warning that higher gas prices “risk harming the ongoing global recovery,” national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement Wednesday that the US is “engaging with relevant OPEC+ members on the importance of competitive markets in setting prices,” saying that OPEC “must do more to support the recovery.”

The US is not an OPEC member, however, the Biden administration has been engaged with countries in the group and its allies, known as OPEC+.

The high price at the pump comes as prices are rising overall in the US. A Bureau of Labor Statistics report out Wednesday found that consumer prices rose 4.3% in the 12 months ending in July, with prices rising 0.5% from June to July. The average price of gas is $3.19 as of Wednesday morning, per AAA. That’s up more than $1 from the average price one year ago of $2.17.

The administration is also using its own tools to crack down on illegal activity contributing to the rising prices, which come as Americans get vaccinated against the novel coronavirus and are resuming summer travel.

In a letter to Federal Trade Commission chair Lina Khan, National Economic Council director Brian Deese called on the FTC to “consider using all of its available tools to monitor the U.S. gasoline market and address any illegal conduct that might be contributing to price increases for consumers at the pump,” citing “divergences” between oil prices and the cost at the pump.

Deese asked Khan to consider partnering with the Department of Justice, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and state attorneys general in the effort.

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