FTC Probes High Gas Prices in 2 Cities
The Federal Trade Commission is investigating high retail gasoline prices in the San Diego and San Francisco areas after Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and others complained. FTC Chairman Robert Pitofsky, in a letter to Boxer, said pricing information she and others provided “warrants further inquiry.” He said he has asked FTC employees to gather more data. Drivers in San Francisco pay as much as 30 cents more per gallon than do those in Los Angeles, and San Diego residents pay 10 to 15 cents more than those in L.A., Boxer said. Boxer has complained about California’s higher-than-average gas prices in the past. Last year, she was among those arguing that Texaco Inc.'s plan to merge its Midwestern and Western refining operations with those of Shell Oil Co. should be blocked by antitrust regulators. After finding that prices were artificially high in Southern California, the FTC proposed a consent order that would require the Shell-Texaco combination to sell some San Diego gas stations.