The National Petrochemical & Refiners Association president Charles T. Drevna issued the following statement on May 17 in response to a letter that a group of Senate Democrats sent to the Federal Trade Commission requesting an investigation of ‘potential price fixing’ of gasoline by petroleum refiners. The letter, penned by Senators Claire McCaskill and Charles Schumer, expressed concerns over market manipulation:
‘Instead of telling the American people the truth about gasoline prices, some politicians continue to spin tall tales and call for witch hunts to investigate discredited conspiracy theories about America’s oil refiners. Once again, the same baseless claims are being trotted out by the same cast of characters. This is political theater. We’ve seen the show before and we know what the ending will be.
‘Dozens of investigations of gasoline price fixing over the years have generated plenty of headlines and political hyperbole, but have failed again and again to find any evidence of wrongdoing. The only thing they have accomplished is to waste taxpayer dollars.
‘Making baseless allegations about America’s oil producers and refiners in an attempt to improve candidates’ political poll numbers does nothing to improve America’s energy security or make gasoline more affordable for America’s families, farmers and truckers. Instead of playing politics with America’s energy needs, our elected officials need to look at basic economics and acknowledge that the cost of oil and gasoline is set by the free market.
‘America’s refiners have been manufacturing proven and reliable gasoline, diesel and other fuels to serve the American people for more than 100 years, strengthening America’s economic and national security and supporting more than 2 million jobs. We make modern life possible and keep America moving and growing as we meet the needs of our nation and local communities.’
API also responded to the news, with John Felmy, API's Chief Economist, stating: ‘This is an attempt to distract attention from failed energy policy. The Federal Trade Commission was already closely monitoring gasoline prices, and no evidence has surfaced to suggest supply and demand are not the primary forces driving them.
‘Refiners have been producing record amounts of gasoline, but world and US demand for petroleum have been increasing. Crude oil prices are up, and local issues in the United States, such as the flooding along the Mississippi, are affecting gasoline markets. The high price of crude oil is the major cost component in gasoline pump prices, followed by federal, state and local gasoline taxes. Critics wonder why gasoline prices are as high today as in 2008 when crude oil prices were significantly higher, but in 2008 the recession weakened demand, and refiners lost money selling gasoline.
‘Press releases that call for yet more investigations of prices insult consumers. We need to be producing more oil and producing more of it at home. Our companies are working hard to do that, but they need the government’s cooperation. Policymakers concerned about gasoline prices need to change their focus.’
Read the article online at: https://www.hydrocarbonengineering.com/gas-processing/19052011/npra_and_api_denounce_senate_democrats%E2%80%99_gasoline_price_fixing_claims/