Pain at the Pump Also Bankrolls Anti-Consumer Ballot Effort
Santa Monica, CA -- The round of record quarterly oil-company profit reports ended today with California-based Chevron, whose astounding 49 percent increase in net income tells only a fraction of the story about how California motorists are financing the company's excesses, said the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer rights (FTCR). The report also noted a 260 percent increase in its refining and sales profits, coming in large part from California. This is further proof that retail gasoline prices are rising far faster than the cost of production, despite oil company excuses about the price of crude oil, added FTCR.
Read FTCR's study of profiteering at the pump.
"Motorists should remember that amazing figure, 260 percent, every time they stick a Chevron pump handle into the gas tank," said Judy Dugan of FTCR. "They should also remember that Chevron is using these profits to bankroll its anti-consumer and anti-environmental agenda in this environmentally conscious state."
Chevron has, over the past six weeks, contributed $1.5 million to a ballot campaign to erase its liability for contaminating California's groundwater with the gasoline additive MTBE and failing to disclose the problem, said FTCR. Chevron opposes another ballot measure that would use some of oil companies' windfall profits to support alternative energy research and development.
"Mothers who are struggling to pay more than $60 for a minivan fill-up with average-priced regular gasoline surely didn't intend to also donate to Chevron's self-serving California ballot campaign," said Dugan.
Chevron is among California's top refinery operators. The state's refiners have a long history of restricting, shifting and controlling gasoline production to keep prices high. Read FTCR's earlier news releases on the topic here and here.
The new round of windfall profits should spur more effective political action to protect consumers, said FTCR. Specifically, the group called for:
- A windfall profits tax that will rebate excessive profits to consumers;
- Regulation of the nation's supply of refined gasoline to prevent market manipulation;
- Modernization of antitrust laws (Read FTCR's expert's testimony before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee) ; and
- New funding to speed the development of alternative energy sources, similar to a proposed California ballot measure.
"Politicians are talking like consumer advocates now that they see consumers' rage over the profiteering built into pump prices," said Dugan. "The proof of their sincerity, however, will be whether they carry through with tough legislation."
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The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights is a non-profit, non-partisan organization.