Fight to Break Up ’Big Oil’
Current Attempts in Congress and FTC
A movement to break up the major American oil companies has been gaining strength over the last several years and is expected to test its power in Congress again this year. Department of Energy allegations late last year and early this year that the oil companies overcharged1 consumers during and after the 1973–74 Arab oil embargo helped revive the animosity that many people feel toward the oil companies.
Bills proposing both vertical divestiture (breaking up the big companies into separate businesses confined to drilling, transporting, refining or marketing oil, but not all of these operations together) and horizontal divestiture (breaking up the companies into businesses that develop only oil, coal, uranium or geothermal energy, but ...