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20+ Groups Including Consumer Watchdog Decry CA Oil Refiners' Average $1 Per Gallon Profit Margin In 2023, Call On CEC To Implement Price Gouging Penalty By Summer To Avoid More Gouging


SACRAMENTO, Calif.March 18, 2024 /7Newswire — More than twenty public interest groups pointed to new state data showing that California oil refiners averaged more than $1 per gallon in gross profits during 2023 and called on the California Energy Commission to adopt a price gouging penalty by summer. Today, the CEC will hold a  Pre-Rulemaking Workshop on a price gouging penalty as directed by SBX1 2.

California’s oil refiners reported to the Energy Commission that their average gross refining margin from selling gasoline in the California gallon in 2023 was $1.01 per gallon,” the groups wrote to the commissioners and Governor Newsom.  “A buck per gallon is too much for oil refiners to take for profit and overhead when working people have to choose between paying for food and filling up.

California oil refiners reported to their investors that their operating and other costs of running their refineries are between 20 and 30 cents per gallon. California oil refiners are keeping between 70 and 80 cents off every gallon of gas sold as pure profit….The buck stops this summer.”

The groups signing the letter: Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Center for Biological Diversity, The Center on Race, The Climate Center, Poverty, and the Environment, The Climate Alliance of Santa Cruz County Climate First: Replacing Oil & Gas, Consumer Watchdog, Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, Elected Officials to Protect America – California, Environmental Working Group, Friends of the Earth, Gemini Energy Solutions, Glendale Environmental Coalition, Long Beach Gray Panthers, Mothers Out Front, Oil and Gas Action Network Oil Change International, RootsAction.Org, San Francisco Bay Physicians for Social Responsibility, Santa Cruz Climate Action Network, Stand.Earth, Sunflower Alliance, and Working Families Party.

“It’s been nearly a year since the Governor signed landmark legislation for a price gouging penalty in a special session, it’s time the California Energy Commission delivered on a rule implementing the law before summer when gas prices are expected to spike again,” said Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog.

The group posted this “Consumer Alert” video as part of its “The Buck Stops This Summer” campaign, calling for the public to reach out to the Energy Commission for action. Consumer Watchdog noted that two oil refineries in Northern California are expected to go off-line this summer, creating potential for a huge gasoline price spike.

“Big Oil has been dishonestly raising gas prices and gouging billions from everyday Californians to enrich their billionaire CEO’s and shareholders,” said Jane Kim at California Working Families Party. “Meanwhile, working families are feeling the pinch. The California Energy Commission must step in to hold Big Oil accountable and protect Californians from being exploited by enacting a price gouging penalty. Implementing a cap on gas profits is critical to curb oil executives’ profiteering.”

“The greed of California oil companies is hitting frontline communities the hardest. Californians are paying with their health, their air, and their wallets,” said Connie Choe, Just Transition Policy Strategist of Asian Pacific Environmental Network. “Meanwhile, oil refiners continue to hike up prices at the pump and slow progress to combat climate change for their own benefit. Implementing a price gouging penalty is integral to ending greedy oil prices, and protecting frontline communities from taking another hit.”

As summer approaches, Californians brace themselves for the annual uptick in gasoline prices, heightening concerns over affordability. With the cost of fuel climbing, there’s a pressing call for safeguards against price gouging to ensure that essential expenses remain manageable. For many, the dilemma of choosing between filling up their tanks and putting food on the table underscores the harsh economic realities faced by households already struggling to make ends meet.

“Everywhere Californians go, they are seeing inflated prices, but nowhere worse than at the gas pump,” said Bill AllayaudCalifornia Director of Government Affairs for the Environmental Working Group. “And the gas gouging started before the current round of rising prices on other essential consumer goods and electricity costs. We really need the Energy Commission to come through for consumers with a sense of urgency.”

SOURCE Consumer Watchdog