Sen. Sherrod Brown says speculators are causing spike in gas prices

By Rachel Dissell, The Plain Dealer

CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio — It was freezing and flurrying today when Sen. Sherrod Brown set up his lectern at a Lee Road gas station to talk about what he said could happen at the pumps this spring — $4-a-gallon gas prices.

Brown, flanked by an out-of-work constituent and an independent station owner, said speculators were to blame for the rising fuel prices.

“If it hits $4, a few people will make a lot of money and everybody else will pay the price,” said Brown, a Democrat from Avon. That includes workers, parents, truckers and local businesses who could suffer, he said.

Brown has asked President Barack Obama’s administration to enforce new powers granted by a Wall Street reform bill to crack down on speculation driving up oil prices. Last week, he also sent a letter to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission urging it to protect consumers and small businesses from artificially inflated gas prices.

Mark Lyden, who owns a string of True North service stations, said owners were making little money after credit card fees and delivery costs.

“There is little we can do as a retailer,” said Lyden, who is also the vice chairman of the Ohio Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association. “We make cents per gallon.”

Lyden agreed with Brown that speculators, not normal supply and demand, are driving up the prices.

Regular unleaded was selling for $3.08 at the Lee Road station today.

Continue reading here.

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