KCBS TV-2 Los Angeles: Consumer Advocates Want More Transparency Amid Gas Price Spikes

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ANAHEIM (CBSLA.com) — Consumer advocates are working on a plan to get oil companies to open up their books amid a recent spike in gas prices.

“I do not know why the prices are set the way they are. I’ve often questioned that,” says Harriet Porter of Orange County.

Currently, the average price in the Los Angeles and Long Beach areas is $4.01 per gallon as compared to $3.13 per gallon a month ago. That’s about $1.30 more than the national average.

“We are well above anybody else, any other state, including Alaska and Hawaii,” Marie Montgomery, a spokesperson for AAA, said.

The price hike comes after February’s explosion at the ExxonMobile refinery in Torrance that’s led to a shutdown at the facility.

A company spokesperson tells CBS2 the closure created a drop in supply of the state’s costly summer-time blend.

But consumer advocates say even with the state’s cap-and-trade program and gasoline tax, Los Angeles’ price gap shouldn’t be more than $1 than the national average.

“If you want to say we have a clean burning fuel, it’s true, but it doesn’t cost very much more to make,” said Jamie Court of Consumer Watchdog.

Activists say Angelenos should pay about a quarter more per gallon as compared to the rest of the country.

That’s why a ballot measure effort is in the works to force oil companies to let the public know when supplies are low and announce refinery shutdowns.

In the meantime, Steve Gledhill and his family have been vacationing from Utah and even planned for the higher gas prices.

“We filled up in the other states that were a little bit cheaper,” Gledhill said.

To find the best local gas prices, click here.

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