American consumers will pay an additional $130 or more for heating oil this winter because of unjustified oil refinery profits and tax enforcement of the Carter administration's anti-inflation guidelines, a congressional study has charged.
The steady increases in refiners' profits on heating oil and diesel fuel also raised the oil industry revenues by more than $3 billion during a 13-month period ending last September, according to a report by the House subcommittee on commerce, consumer and monetary affairs.
Rep. Benjamin Rosenthal (D-N.Y.), subcommittee chairman, said, "The American public has been told that the higher prices they are paying solely are the result of OPEC, but that's not true."
The report said refiners have raised their profit margins on heating oil from 1.8 cents to 14.5 cents a gallon, an increase of more than 800 percent after allowing for higher operating expenses.
Rep. Robert F. Drinan (D-Mass.) at a news conference scored the administration's Council on Wage and Price Stability for not pressing the oil industry to stay within pricing guidelines. "I am shocked not so much about the greed of the oil industry, but the indifference of a democratic administration."
Alfred M. Kahn, director of COWPS, brushed aside the study findings, saying, "I would have to take a tremendous grain of salt the nature of the computations."
In recent weeks, heating oil prices on the spot market have declined from 90.5 cents last week, and inventories of heating oil are at near record levels.
As the report was issued yesterday, AFL-CIO President Lane Kirkland and a coalition of consumer groups called for reimposing heating oil price controls, which were lifted in 1976.