FOR RELEASE: OCTOBER 15, 1992
WILLIAM P. WRIGHT SETTLES FTC CHARGES OF OVERSTATING OCTANE RATING OF GASOLINE AND GASOHOL, OTHER RULE VIOLATIONS
William P. Wright, a distributor and retailer of gasoline and gasohol in California and Nevada, has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that he overstated the octane ratings displayed on gasoline pumps, and failed to properly certify the octane ratings of gas he sold, among other violations of the FTC's Octane Labeling Rule. The settlement agreement prohibits future Octane Rule violations and misrepresentations concerning the octane level of gasoline or gasohol sold by Wright. Wright, who lives in Henderson, Nevada, was sued individually and in his capacity as an officer and director of Wright Companies, Express Oil and Gas of Nevada, and Diversified Desert Properties, Inc.
Octane ratings are a measure of the gasoline's ability to resist automotive engine "knock" or "ping," which results from an uneven burning of the compressed fuel-air mixture, notes an FTC consumer fact sheet. The FTC's Octane Rule requires retailers to disclose the octane rating of their gasoline by posting the now- familiar bright yellow sticker on each pump. Under the rule, gasoline refiners and importers determine the octane rating. Thereafter, each entity in the distribution chain must certify the octane rating to the next recipient, based either on its own determination or the certification it received. The disclosure requirements of the Octane Rule are intended to help consumers choose the gasolines which are properly suited to their vehicles.
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(W.P. Wright settlement--10/15/82)
The FTC filed complaints against Mr. Wright, and Wright Cos. last February. Wright Cos. agreed to settle the charges at that time under a consent decree which, for the first time, clearly signaled that marketers of gasohol and similar blends of gasoline must follow the rule's requirements. The related settlement announced today covers gasohol.
In its original complaint detailing the charges against Wright, the FTC asked the court to prohibit him from engaging in future rule violations, and to order him to pay a civil penalty. The settlement does not provide for the payment of civil penalties, however, as Wright has filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11. If it is later found that Wright misrepresented his financial status, however, the FTC could ask the court to assess a civil penalty at that time.
The consent decree to settle the charges prohibits Wright from:
-- violating any provision of the Octane Rule;
-- misrepresenting, directly or by implication, the octane level of any gasoline, including gas blended with alcohol, oxygenates, or blending agents; and
-- representing, without competent and reliable evidence as substantiation, the octane level of any such gasoline.
The settlement also includes various reporting requirements designed to assist the FTC in monitoring Wright's compliance.
The consent decree was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, in San Diego, on Oct. 14, and was approved by the judge the same day.
The FTC's Dallas Regional Office handled the investigation and litigation of this case.
NOTE: This consent decree is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by the defendant of a law violation. Consent decrees are subject to court approval and have the force of law when signed by the judge.
(W.P. Wright settlement--10/15/92)
Copies of the consent decree, as well as the release issued at the time the FTC filed its charges in the cases, are available from the FTC's Public Reference Branch, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-326-2222; TTY 1-866-653-4261. The FTC consumer fact sheet referenced above is titled "Octane Ratings." It provides answers to some typical consumer questions about octane and is available free from the same address.
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MEDIA CONTACT: Howard Shapiro, Office of Public Affairs 202-326-2176
STAFF CONTACT: Tom Carter or David Griggs Dallas Regional Office 100 North Central Expressway, Suite 500 Dallas, Texas 75201 214-767-5503
(Civil Action No. 92-281H (CM))