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WASHINGTON -- Under pressure from state officials and Congress, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) pledged to monitor spikes at gasoline pumps in 360 U.S. cities, or 40 percent of all gas stations across the country.
FTC Chairman Timothy Muris said the agency has developed a statistical model that will allow the agency to identify unusual gas price movements on a "real-time basis and to identify as quickly as possible the contributing factors."
Earlier this month, state attorneys general from California, Michigan and Connecticut urged Congress to impose a one-year moratorium on oil mergers. They allege frenzied industry consolidation has driven up fuel prices, according to CBSNews.com.
One recent study -- citing internal company memos -- was also critical of major oil companies. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Permanent Investigations, released a 396-page study that showed oil companies had limited supplies to produce price spikes and increase profits. Industry executives denied the price gouging charges at an April 30 congressional hearing, the report said.
Consumer groups and lawmakers argue the FTC has approved too many oil mergers the past few years without significant restrictions.
The FTC also plans to issue two reports later this year on the state of the oil industry. One report will detail merger and acquisition activity while the other will provide an extensive review of the factors causing volatile gas prices.