Senate works on lowering oil prices

A gas price display is changed at a Chevron gasoline to display a record high.

TEXT OF STORY

Scott Jagow: The price of oil slipped a bit in Asia today -- to about $134 a barrel. Later on, the Senate votes on an energy bill designed to force oil prices down. From the Marketplace Sustainability Desk, Sam Eaton explains.


Sam Eaton: It's not just drivers who feel the pinch when gas hits a $4 a gallon. Politicians have to explain what they're doing to ease prices at the pump.

Today, Senate Democrats are trying to do just. Their bill would tax oil companies and grant federal authority to sue OPEC nations in U.S. courts. But not everyone's buying it.

Robert Ebel: A lot of this stuff is just PR, you know, it's not gonna happen.

Robert Ebel is with the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He says there's little chance in an election year of passing any meaningful energy policy. He says that makes this week's proceedings more about political gamesmanship than problem solving.

Ebel: You can point your finger in all directions, and probably find some reason to explain why the price of a barrel of oil went up as much in one day as what a barrel of oil sold for 10 years ago.

Ebel says one thing is certain to come out of the debates: Democrats and Republicans will blame each other as both parties carve out energy platforms for the fall election.

I'm Sam Eaton for Marketplace.

About the author

Sam Eaton is an independent radio and television journalist. His reporting on complex environmental issues from climate change to population growth has taken him all over the United States and the world.

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