Refunding Overcharges Under the Emergency Petroleum Allocation Act: The Evolution of a Compensatory Obligation

The DOE’s authority to order noncompensatory remedies has been seriously questioned. This Note will evaluate the propriety of such remedies in light of the history of petroleum price control enforcement. Although the DOE’s enabling legislation does not explicitly impose a compensatory obligation, the Note finds that Congress anticipated that remedies would compensate, to the extent feasible, those persons actually overcharged. Part I traces the development of a compensatory obligation through the various stages of price regulation. Part II criticizes the DOE for abnegating that obligation. The Note concludes that the Department’s recent consent orders violate both its own rules and Congress’s intent, and suggests a course of action that better achieves the compensatory objective that is the legacy of petroleum price controls.