WASHINGTON (CNN) – Senate Democrats say one way to lower oil prices is to crackdown on oil price speculators - investors who trade in oil contracts aiming to profit from changes in prices.
But Republicans are skeptical. Senate Republican Charles Grassley of Iowa charges that Democrats' demands to curb speculating is a "fig leaf" to avoid more drilling for oil in the United States.
The Senate is facing a test vote on a Democratic bill that would reign in excessive oil price speculation.
Grassley says it the "right thing" to further regulate oil speculating but he says Congress needs a much more balanced approach including more U.S. oil exploration and development; greater conservation and more use of alternative fuels including ethanol. Much of the nation's ethanol production comes from corn grown in Grassley's home state.
Listen: Sen. Grassley talks to CNN Radio
Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, one of the main sponsors of the bill to stop excessive oil price speculating, estimates that "as much as 20 to 30 to 40 percent of the current price could be taken off if you got rid of excessive speculation."