August 16, 2004

Statement of U.S. Senator Ron Wyden on FTC Petroleum Mergers Report

Washington, DC U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) today released the following statement on a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report on mergers in the petroleum industry released on Friday, August 13:"Once again, instead of protecting consumers from price gouging at the pump, the FTC has chosen to waste more taxpayer dollars on a self-serving report that seeks to undercut recent findings by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and to lay the foundation for another meaningless monitoring program."The FTC's claim that there is low to moderate concentration in the oil industry simply doesn't resemble reality. The FTC admits in their report that refineries, terminals, and wholesaling have become more concentrated due to oil company mergers, and states:"Some increased competition is due to mergers." (Federal Trade Commission Bureau of Economics Report, "The Petroleum Industry: Mergers, Structural Change, and Antitrust Enforcement," p. 15)."The GAO recently released an independent report that proves the same: recent oil mergers significantly increase the concentration of the oil industry and gasoline prices. Yet, according to the FTC, since 2001 the agency only challenged two mergers in the oil industry and did not take a single company to court a level of inaction that has been par for the course for decades."