OIL: Mixing Prices and Politics

After a rocketing rise over the past two years, the prices of gasoline, heating oil and other petroleum products appear likely to drop, substantially though temporarily, by federal order. Last week a House-Senate conference committee approved—and the Ford Administration seemed about to accept—a comprehensive energy bill that would force an immediate 12% rollback in the price of U.S.-produced oil. That, committee members say, would be enough to bring down the retail price of gasoline, which currently averages about 60¢ per gal., by 3½¢. Under the bill, price controls on oil would then be lifted gradually over a period of 40...

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