Have oil companies deliberately driven up prices?

| Monday, June 27, 2005

Some American oil companies have deliberately driven up fuel prices by cutting back on the amount they refine.

That information comes from a previously undisclosed Federal Trade Commission document, according to The Kansas City Star.

The FTC document alleges that some oil companies have permanently shut down older refineries, even when competitors offered to buy them at a good price. It also charges that oil companies controlled refining capacity by sharing information – in one case by a secret memo marked “Destroy after reading.”

About 175 U.S. refineries have closed in the past 25 years.

Today, the country’s total refining capacity is almost 10 percent lower than in 1981. In the same period, demand for gasoline has increased almost 40 percent.

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