FTC to survey gas prices
By William McQuillen
Bloomberg News Service
WASHINGTON U.S. regulators said they've developed a system for monitoring "unusual" gasoline price movements to help identify what causes prices to rise and fall.
Federal Trade Commission Chairman Timothy Muris said such issues "are extremely important to U.S. consumers and the U.S. economy, and they merit significant attention." The study will be done on a real-time basis, he said.
Muris said the FTC will use the Oil Price Information Service's data on daily average retail prices for about 360 cities. The study will also use daily average wholesale prices for 20 urban areas across the U.S.
The FTC last year evaluated price increases on the West Coast and in the Midwest before deciding that three years of sporadic increases in gas prices were not a result of price-fixing.
The government will also release two studies this year dealing with energy. The first will detail mergers by major petroleum companies and changes in the industry. The second will review factors that affect volatility in prices of refined petroleum products and nationwide trends.