Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., are among six U.S. senators demanding the Department of Justice investigate gas price spikes on the west coast.
The new demand for a refinery-by-refinery probe comes after a report from an Oregon-based research group. It found that refineries which claimed to be offline, therefore causing gas prices to rise above $4 in May and October, were actually still in operation.
"A McCullough Research report ... revealed information that showed that the price spikes in May and October occurred while crude oil prices were declining, inventories were increasing, and possibly in conjunction with misleading market-making information,” wrote the senators.
Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) also signed the letter to Attorney General Eric Holder.
The senators want the case assigned to the Oil and Gas Price Fraud Working Group, which is designed to investigate potential manipulation in the markets.
"West Coast families and businesses are reeling from elevated and extremely volatile prices at the pump, impacting family budgets, inflation levels, and overall economic activity," wrote the senators.