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Bush takes legal steps to address gasoline price rise

[JURIST] As part of a larger response to record high gasoline prices, President George W. Bush on Tuesday announced [official transcript] that the US Environmental Protection Agency [official website] would suspend certain rules governing the refining of gasoline. By avoiding additive requirements originally imposed to meet clean air requirements, the move will supposedly make it easier for gasoline producers to market their product, which in turn will bring down the overall cost at the pump. Some petrochemical experts have voiced concern over the move [Bloomberg report], however, arguing that the government should not change gasoline blending rules without a clear showing of what the effect of the change will be.

The President has also directed an investigation into possible gasoline price fixing. In a joint effort by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) [official website], the US Department of Justice [official website], and the Department of Energy [official website], the federal government will look into whether oil companies took advantage of the record high price of crude oil to unfairly manipulate gasoline prices. The Justice Department has contacted Attorneys General in all 50 US states, asking for technical assistance and requesting that they conduct their own investigations into possible price fixing within their own states. AP has more.

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