President Joe Biden called on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate the cause of rising gas prices. The President is hoping to discern if "illegal conduct" is behind the current spike in prices at the pump.

The price of gas is reaching highs not seen since the great recession, causing the President's approval rating to take a hit in recent weeks. Inflation concerns have been a constant companion to many Americans as the price of consumer goods skyrockets. According to the federal government, prices for goods shot up over 6% in the last year alone.

"The bottom line is this: gasoline prices at the pump remain high, even though oil and gas companies' costs are declining," the President wrote in a letter to the FTC. "The Federal Trade Commission has the authority to consider whether illegal conduct is costing families at the pump. I believe you should do so immediately."

According to the President's letter, the discrepancy between overhead costs and current gas prices is grounds for concern. The price of unfinished gasoline has decreased while the price of fully refined gasoline has continued to increase. The FTC is "concerned" by this and replied to the President that it would be investigating.

Gas prices have been a thorn in the side of the President for the past few months. Despite considerations of an export ban and uncapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve by Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, the administration has yet to act. Currently, Congress is divided on a response, mainly along partisan lines.

Unfortunately, without Congress, President Biden's options to directly intervene are constitutionally limited. While the FTC has apparently begun a probe at the President's suggestion, it is worth noting that the FTC is independent of the executive branch and cannot be directly "ordered."

Currently, an export ban and an SPR release remain the President's most feasible options. An SPR release was authorized in 2011 by former President Barack Obama to tame spiking prices. After the OPEC-triggered gas crisis of the 1970s, Congress enacted an export ban that wasn't repealed until 2015.