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European gas prices hit $9 a gallon

Cash and a gas pump symbolize high gas prices.

STACEY VANEK SMITH: Speaking of perspective, if you think gas prices are bad here, a gallon of gas in Europe, costs roughly $9 dollars a gallon. Now a British motorists group has asked the European government to look into oil market manipulation, similar inquiries have been called for in the U.S.

From London, Marketplace's Stephen Beard has more.


STEPHEN BEARD: The AA feels there is reason to suspect that the U.K. gasoline market may be rigged. And it wants the European Union Competition Commissioner to investigate.

AA spokesman Andrew Howard says the oil market is much too opaque. He and his colleagues are baffled by the growing gap between the wholesale cost of crude and the price of gasoline at the pumps.

ANDREW HOWARD: What we can't understand is why we have prices as high as they were in 2008, prices of gasoline, when the oil price is 15 to 20 percent lower. Something is strange somewhere.

The oil industry strenuously denies that it's profiteering. But the oil companies are certainly making money hand over fist. Yesterday EXXON reported a 70 percent jump in its first quarter earnings. President Obama has also called for an inquiry into oil and gasoline prices.

In London I'm Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

About the author

Stephen Beard is the European bureau chief and provides daily coverage of Europe’s business and economic developments for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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