Gasoline Prices: Causes of Increases and Congressional Response [Updated July 31, 2008] [open pdf - 229KB]
This CRS report talks about recent Congressional action in regards to sky rocketing gasoline prices. "The high price of gasoline has been and continues to be a driving factor in consideration of energy policy proposals." Despite passage of major legislation in 2005 and 2007, "numerous other proposed initiatives remain under active consideration in the 110th Congress. Measures proposed include repeal of some tax benefits to domestic oil and gas producers contained in EPACT2005, provisions on price gouging, and reform of oil and gas leasing in the Gulf of Mexico. With crude oil and gasoline prices surging to record levels, tax relief proposals have been added to the list of proposals." A second area of focus of the CRS report is the variety of factors which have contributed to the sky rocketing of gasoline prices. These factors "have combined to put pressure on gasoline prices, including increased world demand for crude oil and limited U.S. refinery capacity to supply gasoline. The war and continued violence in Iraq added uncertainty, and threats of supply disruption have added pressure, particularly to the commodity futures markets. Concern that speculation has added volatility and upward pressure has frequently been cited. In recent months, a decline in the value of the dollar compared to other currencies has increased the dollar price of oil on futures markets. The gasoline price surge has stimulated much legislative activity, but until recently there has not been the sense of the extreme urgency of previous energy crises. The continuing high prices have led to a further search for legislative remedies." Finally, the report also reviews the current energy policy options being considered by the 110th Congress.
CRS Report for Congress, RL33521