Los Angeles, CA — California’s gas prices at the pump are rising yet again just as gas prices are falling everywhere else, and the time has come to find out why, Consumer Watchdog said today.
According to the most recent report from the federal Energy Information Agency, California is now paying $1.49 more per gallon for gasoline than US drivers.
Legislation on Newsom’s desk, SB 1322 (Allen), will require the state’s oil refiners to report monthly on the cost of the crude oil they buy, the wholesale price of the gasoline they sell, and their profits made per gallon.
“Californians deserves answers to why California oil refiners are extracting so much from us in every gallon of gasoline and how it compares to profits in other parts of America, said Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog. “Governor Newsom’s signature on SB 1322 will pull the curtain back on just how much the five biggest refiners, which make 97% of our gasoline, are profiting from every gallon of gas they sell, and that is the first step to getting a handle on what to do about it. It is extremely important that the Governor sign this refiner transparency bill on behalf of all California consumers.”
The current price spike in California is the result of limited refinery capacity issues in California and problems at the refineries. Since five refiners control the market, they profit from every hiccup in production. California refiners are not currently required to report their profits monthly, but many do report their regional profits to investors on a quarterly basis.
In just the second quarter of 2022, California’s five big oil refiners reported unprecedented windfall profits that topped $26 billion—making from three to ten times more in profits per gallon off their West Coast operations from April through June than they did in the same period last year.
A review of profit reports conducted by Consumer Watchdog found that profits per gallon from West Coast operations registered highest among each refiner’s reported regions across the United States and world – proving that it is profits, not California’s environmental rules and taxes the oil industry always blames, that drive up California pump prices. “Added costs are only about 60 cents of the $1.50 difference between US and California pump prices,” said Court.
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