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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nunsense

gas prices will come down and settle around 5 bucks, we will sing and rejoice and forget its still almost 2 bucks more than it was less than a year ago.


IDBOUND

Just another investigation to divert attention away from what actually needs to be corrected ….but the investigation will just drag out the current economic situation even longer


derasmus

I wonder if this will go on and resemble another investigation, the one that lasted almost four years but turned out to be based on made up stuff…


Rambunctious

The federal governments war on fossil fuels is the reason for the high price at the pump….

To open up an investigation into the oil and gas companies is an insult to everyone reading this….

When will the people of California stand up against being taken for fools by our elected representatives and the government controlled media?….


JCILOALL

We are all being played for fools by incompetent ivory tower deadbeat politicians at all levels of government in this nation.


the situation

SO lawmakers will be investigating themselves?


slo_full_of_slow_learners

Gas tax holiday or windfall tax on oil companies record setting profits. Anything else is hot air…


Last Individual

Oh that’s a good idea. Let’s resolve excessive taxation by creating a new tax. There has got to be a position somewhere in government for you.


slo_full_of_slow_learners

well what’s the other option? we have refineries in CA already, we pump oil here already. Oil companies are literally making money like they never have before. Tax Rich oil companies > Tax broke peons like myself. Yeah i pick them any day. I don’t care at this point brother…


I’m down for any option, bottom line is im about to run out of gas in all aspects of life. REALLY DONT CARE HOW THEY DO IT, just get it done. Pump more, tax companies, drop epa regs, drop fed and state gas taxes on consumers


Florian75

California has refineries? Like the Phillips66 refinery in Nipomo that is shutting down because SLO County refused to grant permission to build a 1-mile-long improved rail spur to allow access for rail tank cars needed to haul their product? Numerous short-sighted residents, city councils, school districts, faux environmental groups and other NIMBY nimrods opposed 1 mile of rail line, essentially killing off the refinery. Those same buffoons voted for Biden. We get what we vote for and we get what we deserve.


slo_full_of_slow_learners

What a joke. What about that “investigation” ol gavin lead 3 years ago? Same exact hollow gesture. “Hmmmm darn guys, can’t seem to find out why these dang prices are so high! And no we absolutely CAN NOT drop the gas tax because we’ll lose out on infrastructure money!” (don’t ask about the budget surplus).


Why investigate. Why not just cut the tax, give us some damn relief.


The rebate is BS too. $200-$400 per driver? I over spent that after 4 fill ups at $6 dollars. I’ve probably spent close to an extra $2000 since gas prices went up. Rebate is a joke


jdchem

Has it been three years since last investigation? Seems like a biannual announcement.


commonsenseguy

Start by investigating yourselves. I’m sure they’ll take zero responsibility and blame it all on the oil industry. Just the state of California and the federal government are responsible for $.07-$09 a gallon just from taxes. That doesn’t include the cost and regulation they force on the industry through taxes and other fees passed onto the consumer. All of this could easily reduce the price by $2.00 or more. Sure, you’re going to investigate. Just trying to save face and their ass.


Messkit

You make onerous state regulations for oil companies. You raise the state gas tax arbitrarily. You shut down refineries in the state. No gas is imported into the state. You pass state laws keeping needed drilling from happening. You deny the use of pipelines through any “environmentally sensitive areas” across the state, requiring trains and trucks to move oil to the remaining refineries. Then, you cheer when the president shuts down national pipeline construction, exploration, pumping, and restrict leases.


Gee. I just can’t imagine why gas is so expensive here…