President Obama Task Force Threatens High Oil Prices

Brittney Barrett  |

Energy stocks were in focus today as oil neared its highest point in recent history and shares of energy related companies sky rocketed. Many analysts believe the rising oil prices will persist but today, the Obama administration threw a wrench in those assumptions. The President announced on Thursday their administration’s intention to form a commission that would to investigate and prosecute suspected fraud in the energy markets.

Today the weaker dollar and rising price of oil prompted some analysts to question whether fuel could reach as high as $6 per gallon at the pump. The manner in which prices of this nature would detract from consumer spending on other items; vacations, clothing and the like would be massive. During a time where the economic recovery is in motion but slower than most people would like, this would not be ideal. Adding more energy overhead to companies who might otherwise spend on hiring or alternate forms of expansion is not on the government’s agenda, and they have set out to do something about.

“There is no silver bullet that can bring down gas prices right away. But there are a few things we can do,” President Obama informed a crowd at Town Hall in Reno, Nev.

The President has charged Attorney General Eric Holder  with assembling the team that will monitor oil and gas markets for trails of fraud or manipulation that is driving prices higher. The team will investigate analysts and traders who influence the price of oil. The price of oil is financially driven and if foul play is identifiable shares of energy stocks will likely plummet. Investors in crude oil, oil companies and related industries should monitor the situation closely as the administration seeks to insure, “no one is taking advantage of the American people for their own short-term gain.”

“We will be vigilant in monitoring the oil and gas markets for any wrongdoing so that consumers can be confident they are not paying higher prices as a result of illegal activity,” said Eric Holder of the committee, entitled The Oil and Gas Fraud Working Group.

The group is part of the President’s effort to gather a Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The group will evaluate gas on multiple levels to insure there is no evidence of interruption with oil on wholesale and retail levels of the oil and gasoline markets. They will monitor of instance of collusion and fraud in commodities and investigate the relationship between supply and demand.

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