Wyden asks FTC to monitor West Coast oil refineries

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) sent a letter Thursday to the chairman of the Federal Trade Commission requesting that he closely monitor West Coast petroleum producers “to ensure that oil companies are not taking unfair advantage of the situation to jack up prices” on Oregon customers.

A fire last week at the Chevron Oil refinery in Richmond, Calif., has made gas prices spike by more than 20 cents per gallon in his home state.

“In these difficult economic times retail consumers and businesses are already struggling with high fuel costs,” Wyden wrote in the letter to the FTC Thursday. “I respectfully request that your agency work with the EIA and the appropriate state agencies to monitor the West Coast petroleum markets and ensure that consumers are protected during this situation.”

Wyden also sent the letter to the administrator of the Energy Information Administration.

Wyden said the Chevron refinery has continued to operate at a reduced capacity but that officials have not been able to assess damages.

“Although the refinery continues to operate at reduced capacity, Chevron has not revealed how much production remains in place and gasoline prices on the West Coast have begun to spike in response to the accident,” Wyden wrote. “At this point in time safety officials have not been able to enter the unit to fully assess the damage.”



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