FTC called on to look at Calif. gas prices

Oct. 10, 2012 at 6:53 AM

WASHINGTON, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- Extended gasoline supply shortages in California require special attention from federal regulators amid major price increases, a U.S. lawmaker said.

Refinery and pipeline issues in California prompted some retail centers to shut pumps last week. California Gov. Jerry Brown called for an early switch to a winter blend of gasoline to add more product to the consumer market. Prices, however, continued the climb during the early part of this week.

U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, called on the Federal Trade Commission to look into the gasoline issue.

"Periods of tight gasoline supply require special vigilance because of the opportunities for market manipulation -- especially when individual market participants possess substantial market share as is the case in California," his letter to the FTC read.

Motor group AAA reports that a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in California, on average, cost $4.66, compared to a national average of $3.81. That's down about 1 cent compared to Tuesday's prices. Motorists in some major metropolitan areas in the state were paying more than $4.70.

Most of the refinery issues in the state were expected to be short-lived.

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