Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Extension

Summary:

The FTC is seeking public comments on its proposal to extend through December 31, 2008 the current Paperwork Reduction Act (“PRA”) clearance for information collection requirements contained in its Fuel Rating Rule (“Rule”). That clearance expires on December 31, 2005.

Dates:

Comments must be received on or before October 24, 2005.

Addresses:

Interested parties are invited to submit written comments. Comments should refer to “Fuel Rating Rule: FTC File No. R811005” to facilitate the organization of comments. A comment filed in paper form should include this reference both in the text and on the envelope and should be mailed or delivered, with two complete copies, to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Room H 135 (Annex J), 600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20580. Because paper mail in the Washington area and at the Commission is subject to delay, please consider submitting your comments in electronic form, (in ASCII format, WordPerfect, or Microsoft Word) as part of or as an attachment to e-mail messages directed to the following e-mail box:paperworkcomment@ftc.gov. However, if the comment contains any material for which confidential treatment is requested, it must be filed in paper form, and the first page of the document must be clearly labeled “Confidential.” [1]

The FTC Act and other laws the Commission administers permit the collection of public comments to consider and use in this proceeding as appropriate. All timely and responsive public comments will be considered by the Commission and will be available to the public on the FTC website, to the extent practicable, at www.ftc.gov. As a matter of discretion, the FTC makes every effort to remove home contact information for individuals from the public comments it receives before placing those comments on the FTC Web site. More information, including routine uses permitted by the Privacy Act, may be found in the FTC's privacy policy at http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/privacy.htm.

For further information contact:

Requests for additional information or copies of the proposed informationrequirements should be sent to Neil Blickman, Attorney, Division of Enforcement, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20580, (202) 326-3038.

Supplementary information:

Under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), 44 U.S.C. 3501-3520, Federal agencies must obtain approval from OMB for each collection of information they conduct or sponsor. “Collection of information” means agency requests or requirements that members of the public submit reports, keep records, or provide information to a third party. 44 U.S.C. 3502(3); 5 CFR 1320.3(c). As required by section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA, the FTC is providing this opportunity for public comment before requesting that OMB extend the existing paperwork clearance for the regulations noted herein.

The FTC invites comments on: (1) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses. All comments should be filed as prescribed in the ADDRESSES section above, and must be received on or before October 24, 2005.

The Fuel Rating Rule, 16 CFR part 306 (OMB Control Number: 3084-0068), establishes standard procedures for determining, certifying, and disclosing the octane rating of automotive gasoline and the automotive fuel rating of alternative liquid automotive fuels, as required by the Petroleum Marketing Practices Act. 15 U.S.C. 2822(a)-(c). The Rule also requires refiners, producers, importers, distributors, and retailers to retain records showing how the ratings were determined, including delivery tickets or letters of certification.

Estimated annual hours burden: [2] 40,000 total burden hours (16,000 recordkeeping hours + 24,000 disclosure hours).

Recordkeeping: Based on industry sources, staff estimates that 195,000 fuel industry members each incur an average annual burden of approximately five minutes to ensure retention of relevant business records for the period required by the Rule, resulting in a total of 16,000 hours.

Disclosure: Staff estimates that affected industry members incur an average burden of approximately one hour to produce, distribute, and post octane rating labels. Because the labels are durable, only about one of every eight industry members (i.e., approximately 24,000 of 195,000 industry members) incur this burden each year, resulting in a total annual burden of 24,000 hours.

Estimated annual cost burden:$804,000 ($720,000 in labor costs and $84,000 in non-labor costs).

Labor costs: Staff estimates that the work associated with the Rule's recordkeeping and disclosure requirements is performed by skilled information and record clerks at an average rate of $18.00 per hour. Thus, the annual labor cost to respondents of complying with the recordkeeping and disclosure requirements of the Rule is estimated to be $720,000 ((16,000 hours + 24,000 hours) × $18.00 per hour).

Capital or other non-labor costs:$84,000.

Staff believes that there are no current start-up costs associated with the Rule. Because the Rule has been effective since 1979 for gasoline, and since 1993 for liquid alternative automotive fuels, industry members already have in place the capital equipment and other means necessary to comply with the Rule. Retailers (approximately 170,000 industry members), however, do incur the cost of procuring (and replacing) fuel dispenser labels to comply with the Rule. According to industry input, the price per label is about fifty cents. Based on ranging industry estimates of a 6-10 year useful life per dispenser label, staff will conservatively factor into its calculation of labeling cost the shortest assumed useful life, i.e., 6 years. Staff believes that the average retailer has six dispensers, with all of them being obtained either simultaneously or otherwise within the same year. Assuming that, in any given year,1/6th of all retailers (28,000 retailers) will replace their dispenser labels, staff estimates total labeling cost to be $84,000 (28,333 × 6 × .50 ).

Christian S. White,

Acting General Counsel.

Footnotes

1. Commission Rule 4.2(d), 16 CFR 4.2(d). The comment must be accompanied by an explicit request for confidential treatment, including the factual and legal basis for the request, and must identify the specific portions of the comment to be withheld from the public record. The request will be granted or denied by the Commission's General Counsel, consistent with applicable law and the public interest. See Commission Rule 4.9(c), 16 CFR 4.9(c).

2. All numbers pertaining to hours and cost burden estimates have been rounded to the nearest thousand.

References

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