With Big Oil emboldened in U.S. and around the world, it’s vital lawmakers adopt Newsom’s gas price penalty

Note: EWG staff available for press interviews

SACRAMENTO – The fossil fuel industry has fresh swagger as Big Oil hauls in record profits while punishing hard-working Americans at the pump. It’s imperative for U.S. leaders to fight back by approving a pending plan in California to punish refiners for hiking gas prices.

Oil companies are emboldened in large part by scrambled energy markets following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, using their boosted profits to increase dividends for shareholders, give outlandish salaries and bonuses to company executives, and buy back their own shares. 

Responsible political leaders in other countries, including Great Britain and the European Union, are pursuing actions to help claw back some of Big Oil’s outrageous windfall profits. They want to use the funds those actions would raise to help ease the growing financial toll high energy and gas prices take on everyday families across that region.

California is a prime example of the industry’s greed, as five refiners rake in obscene record profits after jacking up gas prices throughout 2022 with no consequences.

To prevent a repeat this year, Gov. Gavin Newsom is urging California lawmakers to approve his gas price penalty proposal, which will make it much harder for these companies to punish at the pump the state’s hardworking families, struggling with the rising cost of living in the state. It’s a proposal the Environmental Working Group is supporting in the battle against Big Oil.

Below is a statement from Bill Allayaud, director of government affairs for EWG in California:

Big Oil in California is bolstered by the grip the industry has on consumers in the state and throughout the world. Oil giants are making record profits while pushing to expand drilling operations and scuttling pledges made a few short years ago to reduce investments in dirty energy sources in favor of renewables.

If lawmakers in Sacramento don’t adopt this price penalty proposal, the state’s refiners will have won and will use the defeat as an excuse to do whatever they want to continue profiting off hardworking families.

The only responsible path for our elected leaders in Sacramento is to stand with Gov. Newsom and support this sensible measure, which will give regulators in California the necessary authority needed to prevent this outrageous price gouging.


Allayaud and other lobbyists from the environmental and public interest communities in California have been urging state lawmakers to support Newsom’s proposal.

Today the Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing on the legislation, and later in the day, the Assembly Energy Committee will hold an oversight hearing on the issue. The full Senate is expected to take action on the bill tomorrow while the Assembly is expected to take up the bill next week.

Allayaud is available to speak with members of the press today. Please contact Alex Formuzis to arrange interviews: 202-617-1740 or [email protected]


The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.

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