Idaho Senator Larry Craig, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, drilled oil executives in a hearing this week regarding gas and diesel prices in Idaho.
Recently, oil companies announced record quarterly profits, while gasoline, natural gas, and diesel prices are at record highs. CEOs from Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Shell, BP America and Conoco Phillips testified in a joint hearing before the Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.
"Last weekend, I held two townhall meetings in Idaho," Craig said after the hearing. "At both of those meetings the number one concern was gas prices. On Capitol Hill and around Washington, D.C., gas is usually pretty expensive. So when gas is cheaper on Capitol Hill than it is in Idaho, I'm frustrated. Idaho consumers are paying through the nose for gasoline, diesel and natural gas, and we need some answers."
The second panel of witnesses included attorneys general from several states to address the prospects of federal legislation to prosecute price gouging.
"The good news is that the attorneys general told us they have investigated price gouging thoroughly, and it is not occurring as widely as it has been portrayed. The bad news is that gas pricing is so hard to understand and even harder to explain, that five CEOs could not explain to me why gas in Idaho is more expensive than in Washington, D.C.
"The energy bill we passed this summer will help lessen this problem - unfortunately, that's in the long run. If we had been able to get it done five or ten years ago, we would not be in this situation today."