Published: June 2013

Stop holding Californians hostage at the pump

Consumer Action supports CA SB 448, which empowers the California Energy Commission to investigate and prevent fuel price manipulation. This bill is aimed at protecting California consumers who have, for too long, been at the mercy of a few major oil companies that control nearly all of the transportation fuel market.

Consumers of fuel in California are faced with two major problems: the price of fuel in the market is highly variable, and the average price for gasoline and diesel in the state is much higher than in the rest of the country.  Regulators who examine oil company operations have been unable to hold those companies accountable for consolidating market power and dictating prices at the pump.  Since there are no virtually no standards by which to judge oil company operations with regard to gas prices and no consistent evaluation of those practices by state regulators, Californians continue to be held hostage at the pump.

A vast majority of the supply for transportation fuels in California are controlled by only a handful of producers and importers.  Unfortunately, many of these companies are also fighting common sense environmental regulations that will lead to long-term fuel diversification and fuel price decreases.  These producers use high fuel prices, a number which they control, as the main reason for California to think twice about moving forward with comprehensive fuel policy implementation.  It is time to put an end to the practice of allowing oil companies to control California’s fuel and environmental policy. 

Consumer Action supports SB 448 as a necessary tool for understanding and regulating the fuel market in California.  We support this important legislation and look forward to working with the committee as it moves forward.

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Stop holding Californians hostage at the pump   (CA_SupportLetterSB448.pdf)




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