The choice additionally comes as oil costs have turn into a political legal responsibility for US President Joe Biden, heightened by recent considerations that Hurricane Ida may additional push up costs on the pump.
The Federal Commerce Fee is analyzing methods to crack down on mergers and acquisitions within the oil and fuel trade and examine whether or not fuel station franchise networks are driving up fuel costs as a part of a Biden Administration effort to fight greater costs on the pump.
FTC Chair Lina Khan is directing workers to establish new authorized theories to problem retail gasoline station mergers and examine doable collusion by nationwide chains to push up costs, she mentioned in an Aug. 25 letter to White Home financial adviser Brian Deese obtained by Bloomberg.
The FTC additionally plans to impose “prior approval” necessities to discourage oil and fuel mergers, together with in retail fuel markets, that might be unlawful.
“Over the previous few many years, retail gasoline station chains have repeatedly proposed unlawful mergers, suggesting that the company’s method has not deterred companies from proposing anticompetitive transactions within the first place,” Khan mentioned.
The FTC is planning to ratchet up investigations into abuses within the retail gasoline station franchise market, she added.
“We might want to decide whether or not the facility imbalance favoring giant nationwide chains permits them to drive their franchisees to promote gasoline at greater costs, benefitting the chain on the expense of the franchisee’s comfort retailer operations,” Khan mentioned.
Khan mentioned the choice to toughen necessities was prompted by “vital consolidation” within the trade throughout current years. However the choice additionally comes as oil costs have turn into a political legal responsibility for President Joe Biden, heightened by recent considerations that Hurricane Ida may additional push up costs on the pump.
The Gulf is dwelling to 16% of U.S. crude manufacturing, 2% of its pure fuel output, and 48% of the nation’s refining capability. Gasoline futures have been up sharply Monday morning after the Class 4 storm made landfall in Louisiana.