Agencies to question refiners on gasoline prices

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy said Friday they plan to question Midwest refiners about high gasoline prices next week.


Washington, DC�The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy said Friday they plan to question Midwest refiners about high gasoline prices next week.

In a joint letter to refiners, they said, "Consumers in the Chicago and Milwaukee metropolitan areas are extremely concerned about the unusually high prices of gasoline.

"We share those concerns. In no other areas of the country using cleaner burning reformulated gasoline have we seen increases."

DOE said regular gasoline was averaging $1.61/gal and reformulated gasoline $1.84/gal in the Midwest, both the highest levels in the nation.

The two agencies said refiners have told them Midwest gasoline supplies are adequate to meet demand, but "over the past week, gasoline prices have continued to climb and there are inexplicable price differentials between RFG and conventional gasoline, especially considering the modest difference in the relative cost of producing RFG as compared to conventional gasoline."

The agencies asked refiners to meet with them at EPA headquarters in Washington to explain the higher prices. They plan a general discussion with all refiners, as well as meetings with individual refiners about their specific situations.

Refiners invited were BP Amoco PLC, ExxonMobil Corp., Phillips Petroleum Co., Tosco Corp., Marathon Ashland Petroleum Co., Citgo Inc., and Koch Industries Inc.

Last month Milwaukee and Chicago asked EPA to delay use of summertime RFG for their areas, citing supply problems. The agency denied the requests.

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