August 6, 2009 / 5:04 PM / 8 years ago

FACTBOX: FTC's new authority in the oil markets

2 Min Read

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Trade Commission issued a final rule on Thursday to combat oil market manipulation, which it says can drive up gasoline prices at the pump.

Following are highlights of the FTC's new authority to police the oil markets.

Prohibited Practices

* Wholesale buyers or sellers of crude oil, gasoline or petroleum distillates cannot knowingly commit fraud or deceit, which includes making untrue statements and being misleading by intentionally omitting information.

* No one can use any manipulative or deceptive device not in the public interest.

* A person cannot submit wholesale price information to a federal entity that is wrong or misleading for the purpose of statistically or analytically distorting government data on the crude oil, gasoline or petroleum distillate markets.

Enforcement Powers

* The FTC has the authority to treat any violation of the rule as an unfair or deceptive act or practice.

* Suppliers caught violating the rule are subject to a civil penalty of up to $1 million, in addition to any penalties allowed under the Federal Trade Commission Act.

* Each day a supplier continues to violate the rule is considered a separate violation, so violators could face fines of up to $1 million per day.

* The court will take into consideration the seriousness of the violation and the efforts of the offender to remedy the harm done in a timely manner when determining the fine placed on a supplier.

* Nothing in the rule limits the FTC's authority in other areas, nor does it preempt any antitrust or state laws.

The rule will take effect on November 4. The full language of the rule can be found here

Compiled by Jasmin Melvin; Editing by Walter Bagley

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