President Bush said on September 5 that a federal investigation into a spike in retail gasoline prices in August would prosecute any wrongdoing that might be found. Democrats have urged the Bush administration to investigate the run-up in prices, and have blamed Saudi Arabia for contributing to the spike by curtailing petroleum shipments to the United States last month. Earlier this week, Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham said he launched an informal investigation after retail gasoline prices soared by 12 cents a gallon in one week to a record of nearly $1.75 per gallon, just before the Labor Day holiday weekend that began in late August. Abraham said the price jump was caused in part by the massive electricity blackout in mid-August that shut down several oil refineries and the disruption in a major Southwest gasoline pipeline. On Thursday, the Energy Information Administration forecast that retail gasoline prices would fall “significantly” during the month of September. High gasoline prices encouraged foreign suppliers to ship fuel to the U.S. market, averaging 1.2 million barrels a day (bpd) last week, the second highest ever, the EIA said.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials

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