Sen. Udall: We need to investigate gas prices

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The price of gasoline in Colorado has risen 45 cents a gallon in two months, says Sen. Mark Udall. "I think that we are all alarmed by the recent rise of gas prices."

The senator, speaking in a conference call with media, says that is why he is calling on the Obama administration to investigate the possible market manipulations that cause the spikes in oil prices.

"Our economy is starting to show increased signs of like. And with the economy recovering, this increase in gas prices has me worried," he says. "Not only does it hurt our families, it hurts our still-fragile economy."

While he says he agrees with Obama — and W, and Clinton, and Senior, and Reagan, and Carter, and Ford, and Nixon — that the U.S. ought to ween itself off foreign oil, he says that we have to address the foreign oil prices immediately.

(And by foreign oil, he means oil coming from Middle Eastern countries, as well as Venezuela, and not our allies directly to our north and south.)

"It would not only mean that we move to natural gas and electric cars, which would mean that we would spend less at the pump, but it would decrease our trade imbalance by a billion dollars and reduce the flow of American dollars to countries that don't like us very much," he says, adding that he wants to create a national renewable electricity standard similar to Colorado's. "And that helps drive the move from oil to renewables. "But I am also a realist. And the truth is that foreign oil will be a critical part of our energy mix for a long time, and for that reason I am calling on the Obama administration to take tangible steps today to investigate market manipulation and other trade issues that might be contributing to spikes in oil prices like we are seeing right now."

He is calling on the Obama administration to investigate what could be driving up oil prices. "It is no secret that OPEC nations collude on production . . . the Government Accountability Office recently reported unreliable information about oil reserves and production contributes to energy market uncertainties."

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OPEC often doesn't accurately report production levels, the report found.

"We can take a hard look at any actions that oil exporters are taking to restrict production and manipulate international markets," he says.

He says that we need to improve international mechanisms, such as within the World Trade Organization or other similar organizations.

He will be sending a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk detailing his concerns and calling for their investigation into any means to restrict oil market manipulations.

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