The Federal Trade Commission today launched an enhanced oil and gas Web site designed to provide consumers with clear information on the issues surrounding the price of gasoline and what they can do to get the most out of every gallon they buy.
The site, which can be found at http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/oilgas/, or accessed directly from the FTC’s home page, has newly developed tips for consumers on what they can do to conserve and save gas, as well as a gas column dedicated to summarizing for consumers current market conditions that may be impacting prices and the FTC’s role in petroleum industry enforcement. A special feature of the new page is a “bumper-to-bumper” interactive guide to saving money at the pump. The FTC today also is releasing a related consumer alert with tips on saving gas, which can be found at the following link: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt139.htm.
“We want consumers to have useful information that cuts through any confusion and helps them understand what is happening with gas prices,” said Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras. “The information on the Web page will provide users with clear and understandable information about what experts tell us is currently happening in the petroleum markets.”
The additions to the Web site include:
A Gasoline Column – Motorists throughout the United States have been concerned by the rapid increase in gasoline prices in recent weeks. The initial installment of the gas column is the first in a series of reports that will highlight information of interest to gasoline buyers and help consumers make informed choices in the marketplace. The information is drawn from public sources, filtered through the FTC’s experience and knowledge base, and is not intended to draw any conclusions regarding the legal status of any conduct the FTC observes or may investigate in the marketplace.
Consumer Information – A primary goal of the oil and gas Web site is to provide consumers with information on how they can save gas and money as they enter the summerdriving and vacation season. Accordingly, the site has links to a range of newly updated consumer publications about ways to improve fuel efficiency, become knowledgeable about octane ratings, and help boost gas mileage. It also cautions consumers about “gas-saving” gadgets that may cost more money than they wind up saving.
One interesting Web page feature allows users to click on any of six parts of an animated car to get detailed information about how each can help them save gas. Clicking on the car’s steering wheel, for example, brings up tips such as, “Stay within the posted speed limits. Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 miles per hour,” and “Use overdrive gears and cruise control when appropriate. They improve fuel economy when you’re driving on the highway.” The goal is to give consumers some hands-on tips to help them gain control over the amount of gas they are using.
Updated Reports and Releases – The site has links to Commission reports on the oil and gas industry, as well as links to every press release on FTC enforcement actions related to petroleum, in both the merger and non-merger areas. Links also can be found to recent congressional testimony on gas prices and oil industry consolidation.
The FTC’s Bureau of Competition, Bureau of Consumer Protection, and Bureau of Economics work for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. To file a complaint, or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357), or use the complaint form at http://www.ftc.gov. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
Office of the General Counsel