Groups Call For California To Pass ‘Price Gouging’ Bill Against Big Oil Companies
California wants to penalize the oil industry for making record profits while residents paid staggering prices at the pump
February 22, 2023 at 19:08
by Sebastien Bell
Last year, as gas prices skyrocketed across the country, one state in particular was always paying more than the rest of the union. To remedy that, more than 100 activist groups have signed a letter urging the California state legislature to adopt new rules to penalize oil companies for “price gouging.”
The group’s letter urged the legislature to expedite a bill introduced by State Senator Nancy Skinner that seeks to “hold the oil industry accountable” for what is being described as “greed and profiteering,” reports The Hill.
“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,” the groups wrote in the letter.
Read: Californian Politicians And Valero Trade Barbs Over Staggering Gas Prices
Among the organizations that signed the letter were Greenpeace USA, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Sierra Club’s California chapter, and many more environmental groups. They supported Senator Skinner’s bill, which was introduced alongside a similar proposal from Governor Gavin Newsom.
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The bill aims to penalize the oil industry for generating “excessive profits.” It would require the operators of California oil refineries to submit an activity report to the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission within 30 days of the end of each month.
It would also establish an as yet unspecified maximum gross refining margin, and would allow the commission to issue an administrative civil penalty if a refiner exceeds the limit, which can be adjusted each year.
According to Raquel Mason, a policy manager for the California Environmental Justice Alliance, one of the groups that signed the letter to the state senate, penalties against oil refiners are necessary because “they tripled corporate profits in 2022 amid record prices at the pump for working class Californians.”
The first hearing on the bill is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, February 22.