Oklahoma legislators call to investigate alleged lumber price gouging
July 2, 2021 | 10:50 am CDT
Train of lumber

OKLAHOMA CITY - A group of Oklahoma state legislators is calling on the state's attorney general to investigate allegations of price gouging by lumber producers during COVID-19.

“I have one constituent who is looking at an additional $100,000 in costs due to these increases," state senator Cody Rogers, R-Tulsa, told KFOR News. " Lumber prices have shot up four to six times higher than what they were about half a year ago.  Sheets of oriented strand board that were previously $11 each are now $48 even though they can be manufactured for less than $4 each. It’s outrageous, and it’s hurt individuals and Oklahoma businesses.”

If it's really a supply issue, let's get the real story on that, another senator said.

The attorney general's office has received the request, reports KFOR, and is looking into it.

Lumber prices skyrocketed during the pandemic, at one point peaking to more than $1,700 per thousand board feet.

Prices have recently come down - falling 40 percent in June. But they're still way up historically - around 175 percent over the past year. They are expected to remain elevated, at least for the near future.

There have been a bunch of different theories on why prices peaked to such a degree.

The American Wood Council says it's a supply issue caused by workforce and trucking limitations. The U.S. Lumber Coalition cited "the free market reality of the soaring homebuilding demand that has boosted all homebuilding input prices, not just lumber."

The National Association of Home Builders cites supply chain issues and tariffs on Canadian lumber.

And many do believe gouging and market manipulation to be real. 

We will see what happens.

Let us know what you think.

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About the author
Robert Dalheim

Robert Dalheim is an editor at the Woodworking Network. Along with publishing online news articles, he writes feature stories for the FDMC print publication. He can be reached at robert.dalheim@woodworkingnetwork.com.