Brown says plan curbs gas price spikes

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Brown says plan curbs gas price spikes

Herald Star – An end to subsidies for the top five oil producers, empowering the Justice Department to have a stick to hit OPEC, as well as investigations of price speculators would get a handle on oil price spikes, according to Sen. Sherrod Brown.

Brown, D-Ohio, used his weekly reporter call Wednesday to discuss his signing onto the NOPEC Act, an antitrust-type bill aimed toward the oil cartel, and the ending of $4 billion in subsidies for the oil industry. He also said release of some oil from the national strategic reserve could make immediate impact on prices.

The top five oil companies, he said, are on track to report $125 billion in profits this year.

“These are five companies that may be five of the most successful companies in the history of the world, and we give them tax breaks,” Brown said. “Why should that be?”

Brown said Americans spent 28 percent more for gasoline in the first quarter than they did during the first three months of 2010.

He said the Wall Street reforms of 2010 give the Commodities Futures Trading Commission the power to set limits on speculation in oil and other commodities by companies that are not directly taking possession of the good. In other words, speculators seeking to jack up prices by bidding up futures on oil would face a cap, while an airline making a long-term hedge by locking in on oil futures price would not.

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