Sanders Calls for Price Controls

Also wants to tap SPR, stop export of AK oil, halt mergers, clamp down on OPEC

WASHINGTON -- Representative Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wants to impose price controls on fuel and increase taxes on oil producers as the prices of gasoline and heating oil continue climbing to record highs, said the Associated Press.

Sanders is spending part of Congress' August recess away from Washington promoting the bill that he introduced with Rep. Peter DeFazio, (D-Ore.), just days before the annual summer vacation began. But even he says he has little chance of pushing the entire bill into law anytime soon.

Instead, he hopes [image-nocss] to get some of its provisions into law as the political pressure builds to do something about the continuing gasoline price increases and as homeowners prepare for what promises to be an expensive heating season.

His proposal was criticized by the chairman of the state Republican Party who said it would drive up gasoline prices even higher.

It may not be everything I want, but I think you will see action, if not for the right reasons, at least for political reasons, Sanders said. The Vermont independent, who also is running for the U.S. Senate, planned a news conference at a Burlington, Vt., gas station yesterday to discuss his initiative.

A number of the provisions are sure to generate opposition from automakers and from the oil industry. For example, Sanders' bill would give the president authority to impose price controls on wholesale and retail sales of gasoline and would establish a tax on windfall profits by oil companies.

The legislation also aims to reduce Americans' reliance on oil by proposing a tax credit for the purchase of American-made passenger vehicles getting 45 miles per gallon or greater and would increase the national average fuel economy standards along with requiring increased fuel economy for the federal fleet of vehicles.

It is absurd that right now, on average, we in America are driving vehicles which get worse mileage than previously, Sanders said.

Other provisions in Sanders' bill include:

A requirement that the president begin releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). A prohibition on exporting oil produced in Alaska. A moratorium on mergers between petroleum and crude oil producers. A request to the president to pursue a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) for violating international free trade law.

Bernie Sanders has consistently voted for high gas taxes, against a national energy policy and even voted to cut $20 million in funding for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. If Bernie had his way, we'll be like his favorite Scandinavian countries where they pay $6 a gallon for gas, said Jim Barnett, the chairman of the Vermont Republican Party.

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