Los Angeles, CA—Fifty environmental and public interest groups wrote legislative leaders to back Governor Gavin Newsom’s call for a special legislative session to establish a cap on record California oil refiner profits.
“We thank Governor Newsom for rightly standing up for Californians who are being taken advantage at the gas pump by a cartel of oil refiners who are making windfall profits at their expense” the groups wrote to Newsom, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Senate pro Tempore Toni Atkins.
“Legislative leaders must now follow through with a sensible and straightforward law to tax the unconscionable profits that refiners are reaping, not because of any ingenuity or hard work on their part, but because they are able to take advantage of hard-working consumers simply by gouging,” the letter concludes.
“As you know, California gas prices at the pump have reached stratospheric levels approaching $7 a gallon in some places. Only the legislature can answer the Governor’s call with a windfall profits tax that takes back the unreasonable profits oil refiners have been making off Californians’ pain at the pump,” the group wrote.
“Consumer Watchdog research shows that the ‘gouge gap’ between the average price per gallon at the pump in California and what consumers pay in the rest of the United States is approaching $3….It’s a consequence of five big oil refiners in California who make 97% of the gasoline and have intentionally restricted supply to artificially drive-up prices. Thus, a windfall profit tax is sorely needed to bring California gas prices under control.”
“In the second quarter of 2022, California’s five biggest refiners—Chevron, Marathon, PBF Energy Phillips 66 and Valero—raked in $26 billion in profits, virtually doubling profits from the year before. In June, California’s gouge gap with U.S prices was $1.25 per gallon and today it is more than twice that. Second quarter 2022 profits reported by the refiners for the Western region were three to ten times higher than they were the same quarter of 2021. They were also higher than in any other region reported. Read a review of investor profit reports here.
“At the end of the month, when these refiners begin issuing third quarter results, we expect to see still greater profits because production costs have not risen.”
The letter breaks down California’s environmental taxes and fees to refute refiner claims that they are the reason for stratospheric prices at the pump. These costs make up only 69 cents of the gap between what Californians pay on average for gas versus the rest of the country.
The letter was signed by: Food & Water Watch and Food & Water Action, Oil Change International & Oil Change US, The Climate Center, Presente, Pacific Environment, Greenpeace USA, California Nurses for Environmental Health and Justice, Citizens’ Climate Lobby/Sacramento Chapter, Oil and Gas Action Network, Therapists for Social Responsibility, Physicians for Social Responsibility-Sacramento, San Francisco Bay Physicians for Social Responsibility, FracTracker Alliance, Let’s Green CA!, Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment, 350 Bay Area, Center For Biological Diversity Action Fund, Spottswoode Estate Vineyard & Winery, Transformative Wealth Management, LLC, Santa Barbara Standing Rock Coalition, Battle Creek Alliance & Defiance Canyon Raptor Rescue, Central California Asthma Collaborative, RootsAction, Livelihoods Knowledge Exchange Network, Climate 911, Climate First: Replacing Oil & Gas, 1000 Grandmothers for Future Generations, Elected Officials to Protect America, Climate Reality Project/Santa Barbara Chapter, NextGen California, Center for Environmentally Recycled Building Alternatives, Let’s Go Farm, Biofuelwatch, Environmental Working Group, SoCal 350 Climate Action, Transition Sebastopol, Friend of a Friend, LLC, 350 South Bay Los Angeles, Feminists in Action Los Angeles, CA Youth Vs Big Oil, 350 Conejo/San Fernando Valley, 350 Ventura County Climate Hub, Protect Playa Now, Santa Cruz Climate Action Network, Central California Environmental Justice Network, Ocean Conservation Research, Climate Action California, 350 Southland Legislative Alliance, Indivisible CA Green Team, Earth Care Alliance, Elders Climate Action/North and South California Chapters, The Sunflower Alliance, and Consumer Watchdog.