Price Pump Gouging Bill Fails, Oil Drops

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As oil futures took a sharper than expected tumble Wednesday, Congress is continuing its efforts to provide Americans some relief at the pump.

Gouging at the Pump

House Democrats failed to breathe new life into a bill which would punish price gouging at the gas pump.

The measure would have made price gouging a federal crime with fines of up to $2-million plus jail time.

But Democrats were successful in blocking Republican efforts to vote to lift the ban on offshore oil drilling. Action on any legislation will be pushed back until later this summer.

Oil Prices Drop

All this comes as the Energy Department reports a larger than expected increase in the nation's fuel and oil supplies - evidence that high gas prices have cut into American demand for fuel.

The increase was followed by a sharp decline in oil prices Wednesday.

But gas consumers should hold their applause, since the move is unlikely to have much effect on gas prices.

For the last two weeks oil futures have been trading between $131 and $140. Until oil moves beyond that range, gas prices will remain roughly the same.

OPEC: We've Done all We Can

Meanwhile, according to OPEC President Chakib Khelil "oil prices will not come down." He insists OPEC has already done what it can.

"Where the oil prices are going to be, I think it all depends on what happens to the US dollar," he said.

He added, "I think the market is probably waiting to see how the dollar is going to evolve in July; how the geopolitical situation is going to evolve with the threats made on Iran. So if you can answer those questions, I can answer the question concerning the price."

Source: The Associated Press

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