Will Sen. McCaskill's war on Big Oil reduce prices at the pump?

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by Craig Cheatham, KMOV

KMOV.com

Posted on April 11, 2012 at 10:09 PM

Updated Thursday, Apr 12 at 10:23 AM

(News 4 Investigates) -- Will Senator Claire McCaskill's war on Big Oil help bring prices down at the pump? A Washington University economist says her crusade is mostly "political theatre." In fact, Senator McCaskill felt justified in having a half dozen staff from her campaign and Senate offices at her recent news conference held near a St. Louis gas station. McCaskill insisted they had important work to do, and that it wasn't overkill, even though it appeared to be just that.

McCaskill is pushing to investigate the industry, and oil speculators, who are the people she blames for being "a huge part of the problem."

However, in our story, economist Steve Fazzari suggests that McCaskill's ideas will do little, if anything to reduce the price of gasoline at the pump. He does support her idea of eliminating billions of dollars in annual tax breaks for the oil industry. Fazzari says those tax breaks seem to have no impact on the economy, or gasoline prices.

What does determine the price of gasoline? I've collected a series of presentations on that issue. The Atlantic, The United States Department of Energy, and Chevron's The Price of Fuel website all have some good information presented in a way that's easy to understand.

The bottom line is Senator McCaskill can't really do anything to bring down the price of gasoline at the pump, but she doesn't want voters to think she's unwilling to try.

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