WASHINGTON, May 12 (UPI) -- U.S. regulators need to move quickly in an effort to control the impact market speculators have on energy prices, lawmakers said.
Prices for commodities such as oil, gold and silver have dropped off dramatically in recent trading. Oil futures for Thursday showed the benchmark price for crude oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange continued to hover below $100 per barrel.
U.S. lawmakers are capitalizing on energy concerns, with many U.S. consumers still paying at least $4 per gallon at the pump.
U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., joined a bipartisan group of senators in calling for more controls over the energy market.
Feinstein, in a bipartisan letter to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, said energy markets have moved wildly without much explanation.
The senators said in their letter it "seems as though some in Wall Street and the financial industry are succeeding in their efforts to water down congressionally required boundaries on speculation in oil and commodity markets."
U.S. President Barack Obama, in an April speech in Virginia, said speculators in the energy market were making investment decisions that cause prices to spike "significantly."
The Platts news service, in a review of oil markets, however, found members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries bound by production quota agreements pumped on average 26.18 million barrels per day in April. This figure was 344,000 bpd less than they pumped in March, something Platts said helped explain past spikes in oil prices.