Santa Monica, CA — The oil industry is refusing to produce a single representative to answer questions tomorrow on gasoline supplies and possible manipulation of gasoline prices before advisors to the California Energy Commission, Consumer Watchdog said today. It’s the second rebuff to government. Last March, no oil industry representative was produced to testify before the California Senate on the same issue.
“California’s oil refiners have refused to publicly explain the unprecedented gasoline price spikes or be publicly questioned about the historic Golden State gouging gap both times that they have been summoned before government bodies to do so,” Consumer Watchdog wrote in a letter to Governor Jerry Brown and Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de Leon. “Isn’t it time for subpoenas to compel answers from the industry about why Californians have paid $6 billion extra for their gasoline compared to US drivers since February?”
For the letter, see: www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrpmacnoshow10.12.15.pdf
The oil industry’s top lobbyist, the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) representing 25 companies, including household names like Chevron and ExxonMobil, wrote the Petroleum Market Advisory Committee Chair Severin Borenstein, who will run tomorrow’s meeting at the energy commission, that it would send no representative of the industry at all.
“WSPA has no specific information about supply chain disruptions or pricing behavior unique to specific members or market participants,” WSPA’s letter said. The letter warned the advisory committee tasked with averting gas price manipulation about breaching confidentiality of data requirements in the law as it pertains to market information its members supply.
For the WSPA letter, see: www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/wspa_council_letter_-_october_2015.pdf
Consumer Watchdog will fill in gaps that the industry refuses to detail at a 10:30 a.m. hearing on oil industry manipulation of the market to keep gas prices high. “Since February, California average gasoline prices topped 80 cents extra for the first time in recorded history, have been consistently $1 more than U.S. prices and exceeded $1.50 more in Southern California,” Consumer Watchdog’s letter said.
“Yet California’s oil refiners have refused to publicly explain the unprecedented gasoline price spikes or be publicly questioned about the historic Golden State gouging gap both times that they have been summoned before government bodies to do so. Isn’t it time for subpoenas to compel answers from the industry about why Californians have paid $6 billion extra for their gasoline compared to US drivers since February?”
“This slap in Californians’ face by oil companies that have made an extra $6 billion this Spring and Summer off our pain is an outrageous abuse of market power that people and the state of California should have no patience for,” the letter continued.
Consumer Watchdog is urging the legislature to hold an inquiry or special legislative session to compel oil industry executives to testify under oath.
To see Consumer Watchdog reports on possible oil industry manipulation of California gasoline prices, see: www.consumerwatchdog.org/node/41061/
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