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Consumer Watchdog has called on California's two large public employee pension funds -- CalPERS and CalSTRS -- to sell off their holdings in Valero Energy and Tesoro, the big oil refiners behind Prop 23.  The two companies have gouged California drivers for years.  Consumer Watchdog writes in a letter to the board members of the pension funds, which own about $115 million worth of stocks and bonds of the two companies, that they should
"divest these substantial public resources from these companies that profit off of Californians' financial
pain."

In a statement issued today, California State Treasurer Bill Lockyer said: "[Valero and Tesoro] care about one thing: protecting the rich profits they rake in from California drivers who pay the highest gasoline prices in the country.  That’s why they’re pouring millions of dollars into the campaign to pass Proposition 23." 

In the letter to the pension funds, Consumer Watchdog revealed slides from a 2009 Tesoro investor presentation that describe the "West Coast Premium," in which companies have substantially higher refining margins in the West Coast than other parts of the country.  The presentation highlights the fact that refiners keep supplies much tighter in the West Coast than other regions. (Download the presentation and see pages 20-21 of the slides).  We also cited recent findings from our Oil Watchdog project report Valero Energy and Its California Profit Pipeline that show, because of this West Coast Premium, Valero nets 37% more per barrel refined in California than on barrels of oil refined in other states.

The CalPERS Investment Committee is meeting Monday, October 18 in Long Beach.