SACRAMENTO – Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom and leaders from the state legislature have announced a deal to hold big oil refiners accountable for future gas price gouging, like the outrageous windfall profits the companies made in 2022 on the backs of hard-working Californians.
The revised proposal, filed today, will establish a new, independent watchdog that will be part of the California Energy Commission and be responsible for monitoring the state’s petroleum industry activities every day. The intended goal is to make sure the power refiners do not artificially increase gas prices on consumers or engage in other mischief that can foist higher prices at the pump on consumers, according to the announcement by the governor's office.
“Gov. Newsom was right to go after these big oil interests and their outrageous behavior, which brought them record windfall profits on the backs of working families who are already struggling with the rising cost of living,” said EWG president and Bay Area resident Ken Cook.
“If the legislature adopts this proposal, it will be far harder for the state’s power refiners to get away with what they did last year, raking in billions in excess profits while average people were forced to make difficult pocketbook decisions,” Cook said.
Form Newsom’s news release:
The division would have access to new information required to be reported by refiners, subpoena power to compel production of other data and records that could reveal patterns of misconduct or price manipulation, and authority to refer violations of law to the Attorney General for prosecution.
Additionally, the CEC would be authorized to set a price gouging penalty via a public rulemaking process, to hold Big Oil accountable for making excessive profits at the expense of Californian families. The CEC would establish a penalty structure that deters excessive pricing by imposing a civil penalty on refiners who charge more than a maximum allowable margin for the price of gasoline.
The Environmental Working Group and other public interest groups, including Consumer Watchdog, Center for Biological Diversity, Environment California and others have been urging members of the state legislature to support Newsom’s proposal to hold these refiners to account.
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