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THE NEW YORK TIMES: Shell Exec: Oil Cos. Follow the Markets

Shell Exec: Oil Cos. Follow the Markets

Published: May 23, 2006
Filed at 10:00 a.m. ETAn oil company executive says there’s not much oil companies can do about skyrocketing gasoline prices.

John Hofmeister, president of Shell Oil Company, tells NBC’s ”Today” show that lowering the wholesale price arbitrarily could cause a run on gasoline, which could then run out.

He says the markets set prices and the oil companies follow the markets.

His comments come as the head of the Federal Trade Commission prepares for some tough questioning today on Capitol Hill about price gouging.

Deborah Platt Majoras goes before the Senate Commerce Committee a day after the agency said it found only a few cases of gasoline price gouging after Hurricane Katrina.

It also said there was no widespread effort by the oil industry to manipulate the marketplace.

That’s drawn fire from federal and state lawmakers, but praise from the industry.

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