Senators seek U.S. probe of refineries’ actions in gasoline market

The six senators representing the West Coast states of California, Oregon and Washington are sending a letter to U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. today, calling for an investigation into possible manipulation of the gasoline market by refineries that serve the region.

In the letter the senators say an investigation is needed to determine whether false or misleading information was used to create a perception of a fuel supply shortage. That might have helped boost fuel prices, the senators say.

Rachel Maddow Investigates Gas Price Manipulation in CA [VIDEO]

Rachel Maddow: “What was it about the price spike in May and then again in October that seemed suspicious to you? Is there something that tipped you off to start questioning whether or not that was a legitimate price spike just explained by supply and demand?”

Senator Maria Cantwell: “Well, my constituents tipped me off that they were frustrated gas was going towards $5. What they knew is that one refinery went down, but why was everybody else saying that they were offline or a lot of the market response basically saying the price spike was caused by a shortage? We want the FTC and the Department of Justice to be the policeman on the beat on something so important as gas.