The much-publicized announcement last week that Texaco was freezing its heating oil prices through the remainder of the year and offering customers new, easier credit terms, represented no major concessions on the part of that oil company, a congressional staffer said in hearings Monday.
John Galloway, staff director of the House Government Operations subcommittee on environment, energy, and natural resources, told the committee that the Texaco home heating oil program, praised by the Carter administration, "appears to be doing little beyond what the rest of the industry is already doing."
"(Texaco's) prices are among the highest in the industry and will remain so with no assurances regarding price increases after Dec. 31," Galloway said.
Texaco defended its plan, saying it "has attempted to respond to the concern over high price levels confronting heating oil consumers."
Representatives of two other major oil companies, Gulf and Sun Oil, also testified that, although they plan to hold prices down as much as possible, they won't rule out any increases.
Gulf Chairman Jerry McAfee had met earlier with Energy Secretary Charles Duncan, and Gulf's statement was in response to Duncan's call for moderation in pricing.
And in a telegram to the Energy Department, Standard Oil of Indiana (Amoco) also refused to rule out possible future increases, saying, "While we hope that prices will moderate, continued upward pressure on foreign crude prices, as well as the need to continue to augment supplies in the high-priced spot market, make future necessary price moves impossible to predict."
But another oil company, Mobil, said that it planned to hold the line on home heating oil prices at least through the end of the year.
"At this time and barring unforseen circumstances, we do not anticipate any increase in home heating oil prices for the rest of the year," Mobil said in a telegram sent to President Carter, and released by the Energy Department.