Over 100 Groups Support California Legislation Curtailing Excessive Refinery Profits

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Labor, Working Families Party, progressive and climate justice organizations unite on bill to penalize future gasoline price gouging

Sacramento, CA — Over 100 state, local, and national organizations sent a letter calling on the California Legislature to adopt Governor Gavin Newsom’s price gouging penalty legislation, SBX1-2, introduced by Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) in response to record high pump prices faced by Californians in the fall of 2022 even as the crude oil commodity price dropped. 

“We write to express our support for SBX1 2, legislation to create a price gouging penalty that is needed to hold the oil industry accountable and protect Californians from the industry’s greed and profiteering,” the groups stated collectively in the letter. 

“While Californians paid as much as $2.60 more for their gasoline than average US gasoline prices, California oil refiners continued to post record-breaking windfall profits—literally profiting off Californians’ pain at the pump.”

“Windfall Big Oil profits threaten our pocketbooks, our democracy, and our health. California oil companies are bullying working Californians—and since bullies only respond to strength, we need our leaders to hold firm.”

Groups standing in support of SBX1-2 include SEIU California, the California Working Families Party, Consumer Watchdog, California Environmental Justice Alliance, Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Progressive Democrats of America – California, Elected Officials to Protect America, Roots Action, and dozens of others. A full list of the 100+ signatories can be found at bottom.

Newly published data show California’s 5 Big Oil refiners (Chevron, Valero, Marathon, Phillips 66 and PBF Energy) that produce 97% of the state’s refined gasoline earned collective 2022 annual profits of $75.4 billion. This is nearly three times the $27.8 billion in profits the five reported collectively in 2021. 

“Oil companies looted California. Working people, many of whom have to travel hours to work, have been hit the hardest, with billions of dollars stolen from their pockets through price gouging. This has to stop,” said David Huerta, President of SEIU California and SEIU-United Service Workers West (USWW)

“Governor Newsom’s push to penalize California’s largest oil refiners for engaging in price gouging is needed when they tripled corporate profits in 2022 amid record prices at the pump for working class Californians,” said Raquel Mason, Policy Manager of the California Environmental Justice Alliance. “Those profits not only came out of hard-working Californians’ pockets, but also through extracting and refining a product that poisons economically oppressed environmental justice communities. The time is ripe for Newsom and the California Legislature to continue to stand up to Big Oil’s profiteering.”

In 2022, data collected and analyzed by Consumer Watchdog points to the five major refiners doubling their profits at the pump from 32 cents per gallon over a 20 year average to an average of 66 cents per gallon profits in 2022. Signers of the letter are calling for a cap on refiners profits of 50 cents per gallon. 

“We need a permanent windfall profits cap in place to deter the outrageous profit taking that California’s big refiners engaged for most of 2022,” said Jamie Court, President of Consumer Watchdog. “This is the only thing that will protect average people from the outrageous price spikes.”

SBX1-2 and high gas prices will be the subject of a February 22 informational hearing held before the Utilities Energy and Communications Committee set for a 1:30 PM start time and titled, “Petroleum Windfall Profits Penalty: Will Californians Get Relief at the Gas Pump?” in Senate Committee Room 1200. 

Beyond imposing penalties on future refinery price gouging, the legislation also would create a Price Gouging Penalty Fund, with refunds returned to California residents. It also calls for more market pricing transparency, to be overseen by the California Energy Commission. Relatedly, the legislation calls for the Energy Commission to create an advisory committee overseeing those pricing transparency efforts.

Polling from David Binder Research conducted between January 14-January 18, involving 800 online and phone surveys, showed that 66% of Californians support imposition of a windfall profits penalty on excessive oil company profits. Some 84% of Democrats support the policy, as do 37% of Republicans. Every age demographic and clear majorities across geographic regions and demographics all support the legislation’s intent, according to the poll (summarized below). 

“The California Working Families Party stands with the majority of Californians in our push to penalize oil companies for their greedy business practices, through SBX1-2,” said Mehran Khodabaendeh, Senior Political Strategist of the California Working Families Party. “As hard-working Californians rationed their expenses to afford record high prices at the pump, Big Oil’s price gouging pumped up profits for their billionaire CEO’s and shareholders. We call on state leaders to redistribute those profits earned on the backs of economically struggling Californians back to the people.”


Beyond Governor Newsom’s outspoken advocacy and leadership in favor of the legislation, Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins recently told Politico that “One thing that’s already clear is that Californians are tired of paying high prices at the fuel pump. Gouging Californians will not be tolerated.”

The following organizations signed the letter:

1000 Grandmothers for Future Generations

350 Bay Area Action

350 Butte County

350 Conejo / San Fernando Valley

350 Humboldt

350 Sacramento

350 South Bay Los Angeles

350 Southland Legislative Alliance

350 Ventura County Climate Hub

Action for the Climate Emergency

Alameda County Democratic Party

Asian Pacific Environmental Network

Ballona Wetlands Institute

Battle Creek Alliance & Defiance Canyon Raptor Rescue



Breast Cancer Action


Businesses for a Livable Climate

CA Youth Vs Big Oil

California Climate Voters

California Environmental Justice Alliance

California Environmental Voters

California Green New Deal Coalition

California Nurses for Environmental Health and Justice

California Working Families Party

CatholicNetwork US

Center for Biological Diversity

Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice

Center for Environmentally Recycled Building Alternatives

Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment

Central California Asthma Collaborative

Citizens’ Climate Lobby Sacramento

Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Santa Cruz Chapter

Clean Power Campaign

Climate Action Campaign

Climate First: Replacing Oil & Gas (CFROG)

Climate Hawks Vote

Communities for a Better Environment

Consumer Watchdog

Corvallis Interfaith Climate Justice Committee

Defend Ballona Wetlands

Drawdown Bay Area

Ecology Center

EldersClimateAction, NorCal and SoCal Chapters

Elected Officials to Protect America

Environmental & Public Health Consulting

Environmental Working Group

Equity Transit

Feminists in Action Los Angeles

Food & Water Watch

Fossil Free CA

FracTracker Alliance

Friends of the Earth

Gemini Energy Solutions, Inc.

Glendale Environmental Coalition

Green Building Architects


Greenpeace USA

Health Justice Commons

Let’s Go Farm

Let’s Green CA!

Long Beach Gray Panthers

Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator

Manhattan Beach Huddle

Marin Interfaith Climate Action

Menlo Spark

NextGen California


Ocean Conservation Research

Oil and Gas Action Network

Oil Change International

Pacific Environment

PDA-CA  (Progressive Democrats of America – California)

Pelican Media

Physicians for Social Responsibility – Los Angeles

Physicians for Social Responsibility – Sacramento

Physicians for Social Responsibility – SF Bay

Project Green Home

Rapid Shift Network


Sacramento Climate Coalition


Santa Barbara Standing Rock Coalition

Santa Cruz Climate Action Network

Save the Environmental Protection Agency

SEIU California

Sierra Club CA

Silicon Valley Youth Climate Action

Small Business Alliance

SoCal 350 Climate Action

Spottswoode Winery, Inc.


Sunflower Alliance

Sunrise SLO

Sustainable Mill Valley

System Change Not Climate Change

The Climate Alliance of Santa Cruz County

The Climate Center

Transformative Wealth Management, LLC

Undaunted California

Women’s March Santa Barbara

Contact Alexandra Nagy at [email protected] for more information about the sign-on letter, refinery profits data, polling, or SBX1-2.

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