- By Bruce Lloyd
Do Guam motorists care about monopoly gas prices? Four-minute public hearing suggests they don't
For decades, Guam drivers have complained about a fuel oil market that appears to be rigged against them. Price increases or decreases on the street are matched within hours by supposedly competitive dealers.
The merger of the Exxon and Mobil Corporations in 2000 put this issue even more in the spotlight, prompting the Federal Trade Commission to sound the alarm that this could make the Guam retail market "subject to coordination," a polite way of saying that gas dealers could control the prices, effectively eliminating competition that might drive prices down.
There appears to have been no follow up on this issue in the years since. Spotting a political issue likely to arouse island consumers, former speaker, Senator Michael San Nicolas' staff spent a year researching it, finding, among other things, that in 2000 the difference between the price of Singapore oil and Guam fuel was $1.07 but that difference in price had ballooned to $2.28 as of January 2016.
San Nicolas then introduced a legislative resolution urging the FTC to step in to assess the current situation and scheduled a public hearing providing a potential forum for outraged consumers to vent and fuel dealers to explain themselves.
As it turned out, the 8 a.m. hearing drew no testimony from either side. Senator San Nicolas briefly restated his findings and then adjourned.
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