Consumer Advocate: Harris Hesitated to Confront Big Oil Over Gas Price Gouging

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California Attorney General Kamala Harris has come around to confronting the big oil refineries over the big price gap between what we pay for gas here in California and what motorists pay in the rest of the country.  But she took her time to get around to it, says Consumer Watchdog President Jamie Court.

“She’s a very cautious attorney general. I mean we’ve written probably two dozen letters over the years and very few of them get answered. I haven’t seen a lot of action out of this office. I’m glad we’re seeing it now.

Part of the problem , says Court, is that it took a long time to get the California Energy Commission panel convened to take a look at the evidence. It was only after this was done that Harris started issuing subpoenas to the refinery companies.

“We’ve got four refiners controlling 80 percent of the market and that creates a lot of market power. I would like to see consumers getting a refund or some large civil penalties going to a program that benefits them.”

Court says California motorists paid what amounts to a $10 billion surcharge compared to what U.S. motorists paid for gas last year.

“That’s $400 for every household.  Some of that, a very small percentage of that is going to be differences in production costs and taxes out here, but 90 percent of that is just pure profit.”

Court was a guest on 790 KABC’s McIntyre in the Morning Show.

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