West Coast oil refiners cut gasoline production this year after a fire at BP's Cherry Point plant in Whatcom County, creating a supply shortage that's left West Coast motorists paying inflated prices at a time when the rest of the nation is enjoying a windfall at the pump, according to Sen. Maria Cantwell and an energy analyst.
In a letter sent to regulators Thursday, the Washington Democrat calls on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate refinery operators Alon, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Shell, Tesoro and BP.
Which is par for the course in politics; scare up a scapegoat for the usual suspects; voters who haven't a clue how the laws of supply and demand work.
The Seattle Times buries this deep in their article;
The Western States Petroleum Association — a Sacramento, Calif.-based trade association for energy companies on the West Coast — denied the allegation.
"Sen. Cantwell has, in the past, made similar requests for investigations, and there have been literally dozens of investigations into pricing of petroleum products on the West Coast and elsewhere in the last dozen years. And all of those have found that market factors are the dominant explanation for changes in product prices," spokesman Tupper Hull said. "And none of those have found that manipulation of the market has occurred."