Holding Big Oil Accountable
For the last decade and a half, Consumer Watchdog has chronicled through a series of reports how California’s oil companies, much like Enron and other energy companies did during the Energy Crisis, have cut back on production to drive up prices at critical moments.
With the passage of California’s Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32), the stakes have never been higher. In our latest report, Pump Jacking California’s Climate Protection (http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/OilIndustryManipulationReport.pdf), we warned that the states refiners could manipulate production in order to falsely claim that these new regulations were causing price spikes. We urged state officials to vow to investigate any drop-offs in production. Since California is seen as a lab for environmental regulations, the future of climate protection is on the line. Consumer Watchdog will remain vigilant in our task to expose deceit and wrongdoing by the state’s refiners.
These practices are by no means new. Beginning with participation on the California Attorney General's Taskforce on Gas Pricing in the late 1990s, Consumer Watchdog president Jamie Court and petroleum analyst Tim Hamilton began birddogging oil companies over their manipulation of the price of gasoline. Research Director Judy Dugan later joined the team to develop Oil Watchdog, which exposed the hidden hand of oil companies over price and supply manipulation, as well as discuss the path to cleaner/cheaper energy.
In California, OilWatchdog exposed the profit motive of major Texas-based oil refiner Valero when it poured $5 million into a ballot initiative that aimed at stopping California's green energy industries in their tracks. Our report showed the initiative's "Save Jobs" motif was a lie--it was all about keeping gasoline prices high and preventing competition.
Our campaign to expose Koch Industries included running an ad in Times Square [see ad at right] that introduced the little-known, but extremely powerful company to the public, revealing its gross track record of law-breaking, Tea Party funding, and climate change denial.
Despite what the oil companies and their captive politicians say about the cost of clean energy, OilWatchdog's Cleaner and Cheaper Energy report sketched a path to a transportation future that is practical and affordable, giving technologies from electric cars to hydrogen fuel grades from "A" to "F".
From BP's Gulf of Mexico oil spill to natural gas that's not so safe after all, OilWatchdog looks for the spin, the influence, and the ethical misconduct that keep these companies wallowing in profit. It welcomes courageous whistleblowers. Knowing how corporate influence works is the first step to changing it.
To check out all of our reports on California’s oil industry, you can view a complete list of our reports below:
Refining Profits: How Californians Get Fleeced at the Pump
May 5, 2015
Price Spiked: How Oil Refiners Gouge Californians on Their Gasoline
March 24, 2015
Pump Jacking California’s Climate Protection
December 15, 2014
Keystone XL: Oil Industry Cash Machine
July 16, 2013
Valero Energy and Its California Profit Pipeline
October 12, 2010
The Road to Cleaner & Cheaper
May 19, 2009
The Causes and Effects of the Record Breaking Price of Diesel
July 1, 2008
The “Katrina Syndrome”
July 23, 2007
The Changing Relationship Between the Price of Crude Oil and the Price At the Pump
May 3, 2007
2/18/2015Blog PostToday’s explosion at the Torrance refinery couldn’t come at a better time—for refiners interested in driving up... More >
1/9/2015News ReleaseSanta Monica, CA -- Following a Nebraska court’s ruling that the Keystone XL pipeline can be built, the nonprofit Consumer... More >
2/6/2015News ReleaseConsumer Watchdog Urges CA Attorney General and Regulators to Investigate Tesoro’s Martinez Refinery Shutdown to Rule Out Gasoline Price ManipulationSanta Monica, CA—Consumer Watchdog today sent a letter to California Attorney General Kamala Harris and Robert Weisenmiller... More >
2/18/2015News ReleaseTwo Refineries Down, Gas Prices Up: Consumer Watchdog Calls For On-Site Inspections To Investigate Price ManipulationSanta Monica, CA—Responding to a shutdown of two refineries that produce 16 percent of the state’s gasoline, Consumer... More >
2/23/2015News ReleaseALERT: California Gas Prices Up More Than 50 Cents Since Tesoro Martinez Refinery Shutdown, Consumer Watchdog Calls For Legislative Hearings into Price ManipulationSanta Monica, CA – Consumer Watchdog said today that the retail price per gallon of gas in California has soared 53 cents... More >