Consumer Watchdog: 80 Environmental Advocacy Groups Support Price Gouging Penalty On California Refiners

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LOS ANGELES, Jan. 20, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — 80 environmental and public health advocacy groups have sent a letter of support to Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), author of legislation setting a price gouging penalty on refiners to be taken up in a special legislative session called for by Governor Gavin Newsom.

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SBX 1 2 will set a penalty on California refiners when gas prices and the profits refiners make per gallon off consumers become abnormally high. California’s big five oil refiners posted overall profits of $67.6 billion in the first nine months of 2022 – nearly quadruple the $17.6 billion recorded for the same period in 2021. The five refiners — Chevron, Marathon, PBF, Phillips 66 and Valero — make 97% of the gasoline in California. 

“We write to express our support for SBX1 2, legislation to create a price gouging penalty that is needed to hold the oil industry accountable and protect Californians from the industry’s greed and profiteering,” the letter said. Click here to read the letter.

“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.

“Oil refiners’ reports to their investors showed that the companies more than doubled their margin from refining gasoline in California from an average of 32 cents per gallon over the last twenty years to 69 cents per gallon in the first nine months of 2022. Moreover, their California refining profits were 30% greater than their refining profits reported anywhere else in the nation or world.

“Setting a windfall profits cap on refining gasoline will save consumers billions of dollars.”

The group urged lawmakers to set a fixed maximum gross gasoline refining margin—the difference between what refiners pay for crude oil and the wholesale price of the refined gasoline–low enough to protect against future price gouging and penalties high enough to stop refiners from ignoring or circumventing the law. 

The following organizations signed the letter:

Let’s Green CA!, 350 Butte County, Marin Interfaith Climate Action, Santa Cruz Climate Action Network, United Native Americans, Climate First: Replacing Oil & Gas (CFROG), 350 Humboldt, San Francisco Bay Physicians for Social Responsibility, The Climate Center, Environmental Working Group, Spottswoode Winery, Inc., Transformative Wealth Management, LLC, Feminists in Action Los Angeles, Ecology Center, Santa Barbara Standing Rock Coalition, Battle Creek Alliance & Defiance Canyon Raptor Rescue, Fossil Free CA, Breast Cancer Action, Greenpeace USA, Food and Water Watch, Oil and Gas Action Network, Physicians for Social Responsibility/Sacramento, Biofuelwatch, SoCal 350 Climate Action Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Santa Cruz chapter, 350 Bay Area Action, Citizens’ Climate Lobby Sacramento, Alameda County Democratic Party, Sustainable Mill Valley, Center for Biological Diversity, Pelican Media, CERBAT, 1000 Grandmothers for Future Generations, Ocean Conservation Research, 350 Conejo / San Fernando Valley, Climate Hawks Vote, Oil Change International, Sacramento Climate Coalition, Elected Officials to Protect America, Action for the Climate Emergency, Pacific Environment, RootsAction.orgEnvironmental & Public Health Consulting, SanDiego350, Long Beach Gray Panthers, Let’s Go Farm,, Manhattan Beach Huddle, Defend Ballona Wetlands, 350 Ventura County Climate Hub, Ballona Wetlands Institute, 350 South Bay Los Angeles, Friends of the Earth, Health Justice Commons, Corvallis Interfaith Climate Justice Committee, Asian Pacific Environmental Network, 350 Southland Legislative Alliance, Equity Transit, PDA-CA (Progressive Democrats of America – California), CA Youth Vs Big Oil, Sunrise SLO, EldersClimateAction, NorCal and SoCal Chapters, The Climate Alliance of Santa Cruz County, Communities for a Better Environment, Glendale Environmental Coalition, Sunflower Alliance, Central California Asthma Collaborative, Silicon Valley Youth Climate Action, Novasutras, FracTracker Alliance, Businesses for a Livable Climate, CatholicNetwork US, Save the Environmental Protection Agency, Small Business Alliance, System Change Not Climate Change, RapidShift Network, Consumer Watchdog, NextGen California, and California Nurses for Environmental Health and Justice

Governor Newsom called for the special legislative session to enact a price-gouging penalty on excessive profits in December and issued proposed legislative language at that time. “California’s price gouging penalty is simple – either Big Oil reins in the profits and prices, or they’ll pay a penalty,” Newsom said. “Big Oil has been lying and gouging Californians to line their own pockets long enough. I look forward to the work ahead with our partners in the Legislature to get this done.”

For his statement and the proposed bill language, see:

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SOURCE Consumer Watchdog

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