California lawmakers launch investigation into high gas prices

June 21, 2022

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

California lawmakers plan to hold committee hearings to investigate the cause of high gas prices in the Golden State as part of a legislative inquiry. [LA Times]

On Monday, Democratic Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon announced a legislative inquiry to determine if oil companies are “ripping off” drivers. The Assembly select committee will consider what measures the state can enact in order to reduce gas prices and “stand up to the profiteers who are abusing a historic situation to suck profits from California’s wallets,” Rendon said.

Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks) will chair the committee hearings, which are expected to begin in the coming weeks. The hearings could last through November.

“It is no secret that Californians are enduring financial pain at the pump. Amidst global uncertainty, supply chain challenges and COVID there are questions as to why gas prices are at an unprecedented high with no apparent end in sight,” Irwin said. “California leaders must protect consumers from further harm.”

Republican Assembly Leader James Gallagher called the legislative inquiry “another dead-end study.”

For months, Republicans have pushed for a temporary suspension of California’s 51-cent-per-gallon excise tax on gasoline. Republicans have also pushed for suspending the small increase to the gas tax scheduled to take effect July 1.

Gov. Gavin Newsom and Democratic legislative leaders have rejected the proposal. On Monday, Rendon said suspending the gas tax would cut off funding for infrastructure projects and cost jobs, and there is no guarantee oil companies would pass on savings to drivers.

In 2019, Newsom asked the California Energy Commission to conduct an investigation that culminated with a report finding that big corporate gas stations charge “higher prices for what appears to be the same product.” The commission’s report also raised the possibility that competing oil companies were illegally price-fixing.

Following the release of the report, Newsom asked California’s attorney general to investigate whether the state’s leading oil and gas suppliers are involved in price fixing or other unfair practices. The current status of the investigation is unclear.


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shelworth

Gee, what causes inflation? (*the Fed who just printed trillions in extra dollars looks away….)


Baywoodjones

1of2 Im sorry, I don’t mean to be a jerk, but that’s not how it works. This principal you’re describing is the reason we left the Gold/Silver Standards. The value of the American dollar is not tied to the number of dollars in existence. It’s value is based on, for lack of a better term, our credit. It’s people’s and institution, domestic and abroad’s willingness to put their money in things like US Bonds. When we were at our modern lowest after 2008 when banks, left unregulated, nearly drove the world economy into oblivion by cheating the very forces upholding our “credit” (Remember the scandals around the ratings agencies?) Even at that time, when the fed was churning out the money on printing press and our bonds we’re offering, literally, not figuratively, 0.0% return, the US Dollar was considered the safest place for your money and people across the globe bought bonds.


Gas prices are what’s driving inflation. The cost of fuel is going up and everything in our economy either takes petroleum to make or petroleum to get to the market place. The cost of gas is related to supply/demand. We have more than enough petroleum to keep the economy going right along, but the oil companies and groups like OPEC who control the processing plants (crude to gas) are refusing to increase processing as demand for everything skyrockets as societies across the globe get back to normal after lockdowns. Their refusal to ramp up production because of their greed has set off an economic chain of events driving prices through the roof.


If you want to see prices drop and return to price stability, we should take processing out of the hands of the Exxons, BPs, and Saudi Arabia’s of the world and write policies that tie oil companies profits how much fuel they can provide the product, rather than withholding fuel from us.


Baywoodjones

2of2

As long winded as my first response is, it’s still an incredible oversimplification of what’s happening, and leaves out another element that factors into this and that the price society pays for foreign policy decisions.


A lot of people are looking around and saying “Jesus this looks like the 70s inflation all over again. Just look at the gas prices!”


Do you know what the big parallel is between them and now? During the 70s inflation we had just come out of 19 years of fighting an un-winnable war in Vietnam


It’s not a coincidence that we just got out of a 19 year un-winnable war in Afghanistan. It’s almost as if society doesn’t, in the long run, get to send their armies off to fight wars and never have the bill come due


Look around, this is what the bill for our never ending wars coming due looks like