Sacramento, CA — A landmark measure to rein in skyrocketing California gasoline prices has cleared the California Senate by a vote of 30 to 8.
“This bill puts a watchdog over gasoline price gouging and gives it the teeth to stop the gouging,” said Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog. “Californians deserve to know their gasoline prices are not being manipulated and this bill gives regulators the tools to determine when California gas prices are artificially high and penalize oil refiners for it. This landmark law will prevent the gasoline price spikes that have plagued Californians for the last decades.”
SBx1 2 gives the California Energy Commission the power to create a price gouging penalty on oil refiners when they make too much money per gallon at a level to be determined in a rule making. The legislation creates new transparency over refinery shutdowns, transactions that compose the crucial spot market where retail prices are set, export and import activity, pipeline activity, and other aspects of the industry that have been shielded from regulators for too long. The bill also creates new division of the California Energy Commission dedicated to monitoring the market on a daily basis.
Among the most important provisions of SBx1 2 is the new ledger to be kept for transactions on the gasoline spot market. Regulators will have to be informed of all trades to make sure the crucial spot market — where the price retailer pay oil refiners for the gas is set — is not manipulated. For more on the spot market read Consumer Watchdog’s recent LA Times commentary.