Congressman Requests FTC Investigation on Gas Price Fixing

A congressman from Massachusetts has requested federal regulators to investigate irregularities in the gasoline market considering that the region’s gasoline prices today are very high.

Representative Ed Markey, D-Mass., a House Natural Resources Committee’s ranking member, asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to look into the possibility of price fixing in New England’s retail gasoline sector. In a letter written by the representative, he said that it is crucial that whatever abnormilities exist in the gasoline sector must be handled promptly.

According to the report of the motor organization AAA, the current gasoline price average of regular unleaded gas in the area is $3.89 per gallon. That rate is higher compared to the $3.78 per gallon nationwide average. Some of the state’s retail prices reached a peak of as much as $3.93 per gallon.

New England’s refiners usually use the international Brent crude blend. According to analysts, the higher per barrel crude price of the imported blend factors into the region’s higher gasoline price today.

In a statement, Joe Petrowski, Cumberland Farms Gulf Oil Group’s chief executive, said that it is not possible for there to be any manipulation in the region’s current gasoline prices.

Recently, California’s Senator Dianne Feinstein issued similar complaints with the Federal Trade Commission, when the prices of gasoline in her state were moving closer to $5 per gallon due to refinery issues. In California, the current gasoline price average posted a 6-cent drop from its level last week, at $4.60 per gallon.

By: Chris Termeer