Annual Highlights 2012-2013

Monitoring Environmental Claims & Energy Markets

a green landscape

Consumers continue to seek out energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly products when shopping for new items.  The FTC works to ensure that environmental marketing claims are truthful and based on solid evidence.

To help marketers avoid making misleading claims, the FTC revised its Green Guides to modify and clarify previous guidelines and provide new guidance in a few areas.  The Commission also sent warnings to 14 window manufacturersand one window glass manufacturer that may be making unsupported energy savings claims for replacement windows, and issued final orders with five marketers of replacement windows.  The Commission issued final orders against Sherwin Williams and PPG Architectural Finishes to resolve charges that they misled consumers that some of their paints had no potentially harmful chemicals known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Based on the two VOC cases, the FTC also issued an Enforcement Policy Statement about VOC-free paint claims.

On the competition front, the FTC challenged a combination of two of the country’s largest natural gas pipeline companies,Kinder Morgan, Inc. and El Paso Corporation, charging that the combination would illegally diminish competition in several natural gas pipeline transportation and gas processing markets in the Rocky Mountains region.  In settlement, Kinder Morgan agreed to sell three natural gas pipelines and two gas-processing plants and associated storage capacity in the area.  In another case, the Commission also required divestitures topreserve competition among makers of equipment used to recharge vehicle air conditioning systems and prevent refrigerant gas from leaking into the atmosphere during the repair process.

To facilitate the sharing of information during investigations in petroleum and other markets, the FTC signed an MOU with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and co-chairs an interagency Oil and Gas Price Fraud Working Group, established by the Attorney General in the midst of the spring 2011 oil and gasoline price increases to increase cooperative information-sharing among member agencies.

Enforcement Highlights

Policy Highlights

Outreach Highlights