Grassley calls on Biden to sue OPEC over ‘artificially inflated’ oil prices

WASHINGTON — With gasoline prices in Iowa averaging more than a dollar a gallon higher than a year ago, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is calling on President Joe Biden to challenge OPEC in international court.

Grassley, a Republican, says the president’s energy policies discourage domestic production, while Biden “resorted to pleading” with OPEC to ramp up production, only to be turned down.  “Instead of asking OPEC to pump more,” Grassley says, “he should look at how they’re monopolizing the world price of petroleum.”

Grassley is calling on the president to support his bipartisan No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels, or NOPEC, Act, which he’s reintroduced. Grassley says Biden backed the original bill some 21 years ago when he was still a senator.  “He advocated to then-President Clinton that President Clinton ought to sue OPEC for violating antitrust laws,” Grassley says. “That was through a bill that he and I agreed on at that particular time called NOPEC.”

Grassley is urging the administration to support the bill to hold the cartel accountable for its anticompetitive behavior that elevates global oil prices. He says NOPEC would provide the Department of Justice with an effective tool to ensure American consumers are “no longer beholden to artificially inflated gas prices.” “If the president’s serious about lowering gas prices, he should support strong renewable fuels volumes,” Grassley says, “and look at the real anti-trust violation of OPEC.”

According to Triple-A, gas prices in Iowa are averaging $3.13 a gallon, compared to $1.97 a year ago. An official with the motor club in Iowa notes prices a year ago were exceptionally low due to drastically-reduced travel levels caused by the pandemic — and lower demand brought lower prices.