Congressman pushes bill to regulate oil prices

Rep. Baron Hill wants to regulate oil speculators.
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Kevin Rader/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis - One congressman from Indiana says he may have an answer to stabilize oil prices.

Meanwhile, Hoosiers continue to wonder what's actually driving the prices at the pump.

"It is hard for anyone to live," said Veronica Richardson.

"Somebody is making some money," said Jim Farr. "I don't understand whether it is speculators or whether it is the oil companies themselves."

Congressman Baron Hill thinks it is the speculators. He says the real cost of gasoline, based on supply and demand, should be $2.75 a gallon. That led him to introduce legislation to re-regulate speculators.

"I am told by economists that, if we pass this bill I've introduced, it will drop the price of gasoline anywhere from 20-50% per barrel," said Rep. Hill. "There is no transparency right now, so they are doing things right now we don't even know about."

Bloomington is already preparing alternatives. A Federal Transit Administration grant for a new transportation center at Third and Walnut is currently pending. Groundbreaking is tentatively set for next spring.

Sustainability is also key. People in Bloomington are hoping $400,000 of federal money will offset rising fuel costs to keep the buses running. Currently, two of the Bloomington Transit 44 buses are hybrids, with four more on order. Those are needed to keep up with increasing fuel costs and ridership.

"This year, we will reach a record 2.8 million riders for Bloomington Transit, a ten percent increase over 2007," said Lewis May of Bloomington Public Transportation.

"People are feeling squeezed and Congress needs to be doing a better job of providing relief," Rep. Hill said.

"I have a feeling it will continue to go up until somebody finds out just exactly where the money is going," Farr said.

Hill's opponent in November election, Mike Sodrel, supports clean coal technology along with continued expansion of domestic petroleum reserves and increased production.