The six senators representing the West Coast states of California, Oregon and Washington are sending a letter to U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. today, calling for an investigation into possible manipulation of the gasoline market by refineries that serve the region.
In the letter the senators say an investigation is needed to determine whether false or misleading information was used to create a perception of a fuel supply shortage. That might have helped boost fuel prices, the senators say.
In California, the price of a gallon of regular gasoline hit a new record of $4.671 a gallon last month.
The letter was signed by Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.).
"Potentially market-making information, misleading reports of shutdowns could create or exacerbate a perceived supply shortage and artificially drive market prices to unjustifiably high levels," the letter to Holder says.