Cantwell wants investigation of refinery operators over gas prices

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., is calling on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate several refinery operators as gas prices on the West Coast stay well above the national average.

AAA reports the price for gallon of unleaded in Washington was $4.23 Thursday, a drop of two cents from the day before, but still 67 cents higher than what the rest of the country pays on average.

According to a report by McClatchy newspapers, Cantwell wants the FTC to investigate refinery operators Alon, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Shell, Tesoro and BP following the shutdown of BP’s Cherry Point refinery near Ferndale due to a fire.

Cantwell’s letter to the FTC reportedly cites findings by Portland based McCullough Research, which questions whether historically low gasoline inventories on the west coast were really caused by a Feb. 17 fire at Cherry Point that shut down the facility for about three months.