It is “well established by now that the Sherman Act applies to foreign conduct that was meant to produce and did in fact produce some substantial effect in the United States.” (Hartford Fire Ins. Co. v. California, 509 U.S. 764, 796 (1993)). If that “substantial effect” is the result of a price-fixing agreement made abroad, the U.S. Department of Justice and injured private plaintiffs may invoke criminal, civil and treble-damage remedies under the antitrust laws.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), comprising 13 states from Iran to Venezuela, makes such agreements. Although immense current demand for crude oil enables OPEC to sit back, it remains a significant price inflator: The current price is more than $130 a barrel, a doubling of the price last year. Gas at the pump is consequently more than $4.00 per gallon in many places, seriously injuring American consumers.

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