FTC Enters Gas Prices Investigation

by scrosby on October 15, 2008

The Federal Trade Commission has joined an investigation into Louisville gas prices. The agency’s concern is that motorists here are paying higher prices because of lack of competition among gas wholesalers.

The attorney general’s office has been gathering information for its own investigation into why Louisville-area gas prices are consistently higher than prices in the rest of the state. The FTC recently requested a copy of that information.

Attorney General’s Office spokesperson Allison Martin says officials are looking into whether the Marathon-Ashland merger has created a lack of competition in the Louisville market, and the FTC could take action to remedy that.

“They could force Marathon to divest some of its interest here in the state of Kentucky to create more competition,” says Martin, “but that’s a little way down the road and this is going to be a process that does take probably several years.”

The merger took place in 1998, but the FTC noted at the time it could create an unequal market. They reviewed the market again in 2004 but took no action.

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