HC Deb 23 January 1981 vol 997 cc252-3W
Mr. Rowlands

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what estimate his Department has made of the size of the increase required in United States' domestic oil prices to achieve the agreed International Energy Agency objective that national oil prices should reflect international prices.

Mr. Norman Lamont

Under the Energy Policy and Conservation Allocations Act of 1975, all authority to control the price of indigenous crude oil and domestic oil products expires on September 30 1981.

Under the Act's discretionary powers, President Carter began a phased programme of decontrol of domestic crude oil prices on 1 June 1979. As a result nearly 60 per cent. of previously controlled production has now been moved to world market price; by October 1981 at the latest, all crude production is to be at world market prices. Latest figures available on United States prices indicate that the cost to United States refiners of domestic crude oil in September 1980 was about 28 per cent. below international levels. The composite prices of domestic and imported crude was then about 19 per cent. below international levels.

Gasoline and propane, the only products still subject to price control, are also to be deregulated under the 1975 Act by September 1981. Retail gasoline prices have roughly doubled since 1978 but after decontrol will still remain significantly lower than in other IEA markets—with the exception of Canada—unless sales taxes are increased.

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