Is Market Concentration in the U.S. Petroleum Industry Harming Consumers?

May 23 2007 10:00 AM

Washington D.C. - The Bush Administration has allowed an increase in oil refinery mergers to go unchecked, even as reduced refining supply seems to be pushing up gas prices.  The rise in gasoline prices is helping refiners generate the highest margins from refining since at least 1990, allowing them to report record profits.  Meanwhile, consumers are facing harmful price spikes and lack of cheaper alternatives, such as E85, at the pumps.

The JEC examined the impacts of consolidation in the oil and gas industry on competition, gasoline prices, and consumers’ energy choices.  Specifically, the Committee investigated whether oil industry mergers and increased market concentration have enabled firms to raise their prices above competitive levels and strategically withhold capacity to keep prices high; and investigated whether firms are preventing the entry of cheaper fuel alternatives for consumers at the pump.

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