Nys Senate Housing Committee Chairman Calls Foul

John J. Bonacic

September 15, 2005

New York State Senator John J. Bonacic (R/I/C - Mount Hope), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Housing, Construction, and Community Development, upon hearing of anticipated home heating increases estimated at over 70 percent, expressed his anger and frustration over what he believes to be price gouging by the oil and gas industry.

"Long before Hurricane Katrina, oil companies were increasing prices and their profits were soaring," stated Senator Bonacic. "Now, in spite of the fact that home heating demand is low, oil industry spokespeople and the media are informing the public that their fuel costs may rise over 70 percent and I'd like to know why. I've called upon the United States Attorney General to conduct a thorough investigation. However, a response has not been forthcoming. I find that extremely troublesome."

Senator Bonacic said that according to CNN, the price of oil is down more than 8% and the price per barrel of oil is under $64. "In the beginning of August of 2005, when the price per barrel was $65, gas prices averaged $2.34 per gallon. Now, the average price is over $3.00 per gallon. Oil companies are taking advantage of Americans and it needs to be controlled," continued Senator Bonacic.

"When the same tanker truck delivers gasoline to all of the gas stations in a community, it is proof that there is absolutely no competition; it's called a monopoly. Market forces will not lower prices of gasoline and home heating fuel--more needs to be done," Senator Bonacic said.

Bonacic said, "New Yorkers are afraid that they will not be able to afford to heat their homes this winter. They are facing tough choices and perhaps financial ruin. The detrimental trickle down effect of high energy prices is enormous. It impacts our schools, local governments, small businesses, etc. and New Yorkers will have to pay more for every necessity."

"The oil industry must be responsible citizens and good neighbors. Our government regulates the insurance industry and electric utility companies to protect consumers. In the short term, a thorough and immediate federal probe to determine whether or not the oil industry is engaged in price gouging and proper regulatory authority is warranted and long overdue. In the long run, America needs a national energy policy that will make us less reliant on foreign oil," stated Senator Bonacic. "In the meantime, Americans need affordable energy to survive."