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Gas went up fifty cents over the weekend and I want to know why. Did we go to war with somebody on Friday? Did OPEC jack their prices up? Did a major refinery blow up on Saturday? What could cause prices at the pump to jump fifty cents overnight?
The answer can be summed up in one word: Monopoly. Marathon Oil has a virtual total monopoly over wholesale gasoline distribution throughout the state, and whenever they decide to hike the price by a nickel, or a dime – or fifty cents – they have no competitors who might take business from them by offering a better price.
That's a monopoly behaving badly. And Kentucky's Attorney General Jack Conway agrees. But when Mr. Conway contacted Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Liebowitz to demand that the federal government intervene, Mr. Liebowitz showed no interest in doing so.
Fortunately, the unconcerned Mr. Liebowitz has since resigned. And Mr. Conway has assured me that he'll be renewing his demand for a federal investigation once a successor has been chosen.
Until then however, Kentucky drivers have only two options: Pay what Marathon demands or drive less.
This is a textbook example of abuse via monopoly. And I urge Mr. Conway to be as relentless as possible in his attempts to correct this situation.