High gasoline prices irk U.S. lawmakers

WASHINGTON, Feb. 18 (UPI) --
U.S. House members introduced a measure that would help curb the impact of market speculators in the energy sector amid high U.S. gasoline prices.



U.S. Reps. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., introduced a measure they said would keep some speculators away from energy commodities.



"High oil prices affect every aspect of Americans' lives -- not just the cost of traveling, but of heating homes, food and other purchases," DeLauro said in a statement. "The cost of gas is irrefutably affected by rampant speculation in the oil market."



U.S. retail gasoline prices have escalated along with higher crude oil prices on the global market. Refinery outages and a move toward more-expensive summer blends of gasoline are adding to strains for U.S. drivers.



Motor group AAA reports the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was $3.73 nationally, a 4-percent increase from one week ago.



East Coast, Midwest and West Coast markets are the hardest hit. Drivers in Connecticut paid $3.96 for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline Monday. California drivers paid the highest of the Lower 48 at $4.16, more than a 10-cent increase from last week.



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