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Legislation Requiring CA Oil Refiners To Disclose Their Profits Per Gallon Moves Forward

Wed, 04/27/2022 - 09:57
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Los Angeles, CA -- With gas prices sky-high, legislation requiring California oil refiners to disclose once a month the price they pay for crude oil and the profit margins they make on the gasoline they refine and sell moved out of the California Senate Energy Committee last night on a vote of 8 to 0.

SB 1322 (Allen), the California Oil Refinery Cost Disclosure Act, will allow Californians to finally know how much the big five oil refiners in the state are profiting from each gallon of gasoline they sell.  

Five oil refiners control 96% of the gasoline made in California: Chevron, Marathon, PBF Energy, Phillips 66 and Valero. While they report their refining profits in other states and regions, they hide their per barrel/per gallon profits from Californians.

“Gasoline prices in California are now a dollar and fifty cents more per gallon than in the rest of America,” said Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog. “With California taxes and environmental fees adding about 60 cents per gallon, Californians have long wondered where the extra money they are paying per gallon goes, and with this legislation we will finally know. California has been an ATM for oil refiners for too long, it’s time to pull the curtain back and find out how much California oil refiners are making off every gallon of gasoline they sell and take back the excessive profits.”

Read the legislation at: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220SB1322

“We ask the oil companies on behalf of California drivers: Let’s end the games of smoke and mirrors. Open your books and show the public your true costs of doing business,” said Senator Allen, who chairs the California Legislature’s Environmental Caucus and the Senate Environmental Quality Committee.

The oil industry opposes the legislation on the basis that it would violate anti-trust laws and allow market manipulation. However, gross refining margins and net refining margins are routinely published by companies for investors in other states and regions. Until 2015 California oil refiners Valero and Tesoro published their refining profits, as documented in this Consumer Watchdog report “Oil Slicked”.  Consumer Watchdog embarrassed the companies over the increasing margins. Subsequently, refiners stopped publishing their California specific per barrel profits. 

"While we strive for a California where the price of gas doesn’t matter because our cars, trucks, and buses are completely powered by renewable energy, in the meantime we cannot allow California oil refiners to profiteer off consumers,” said Jenn Engstrom, state director of CALPIRG, the California Public Interest Research Group. "We need better transparency so we know to call out oil refiners if they needlessly raise prices for consumers."

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