CA gas price gouging law went into effect Monday

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STATEWIDE – The Nation’s first gas price gouging law took effect, June 26, in California. State officials say the law creates new tools to root out illegal price gouging – helping protect families from extreme gas price spikes.

National Average Price of Gas vs. California Average Price of Gas  

Photo credit: AAA

The American Automobile Association (AAA) lists the National average price of gas as $3.57. In comparison, California’s average price of gas is $4.84.

New Price Gouging Law

Governor Gavin Newsom says California is delivering on its promise to hold Big Oil accountable.

“These new transparency laws will help us track refiners’ profits and shine a light on price manipulation so Californians aren’t vulnerable to the greedy whims of Big Oil,” said Newsom. “And this is just the start – we’re standing up the nation’s first Big Oil watchdog to monitor the industry 24/7, rooting out illegal price gouging in real-time to help you keep money in your pocket.”

The new law will:

  • Expose price manipulation in real time by requiring daily reports on the market and imports;
  • Help prevent gas price spikes caused when refineries go offline by requiring refineries to report maintenance schedules in advance and unplanned maintenance in real-time;
  • Increase accountability by getting monthly reports on refiners’ profit margins;
  • Establish a new independent watchdog, the Division of Petroleum Market Oversight, within the California Energy Commission, to monitor the industry.

Impact on gas prices

University of San Diego economics professor Alan Gin said although the law will provide more transparency, he isn’t sure how big of an impact the bill will have on gas prices unless the oil companies are proven to be price gouging.

“I think it’s probably going to have minimal effects. There are other effects at work here that impact gas prices in California,” said Gin to PBS.

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AAA spokesperson Anlleyn Venegas says Californians are always going to pay more for gas.

“High state gas taxes are one reason. The state’s clean air policies is another reason,” said Venegas.

AAA said California has already switched over to a summer blend. The blend reduces emissions during the summer when more people are driving, however, it is more expensive to produce and distribute.

For more information on the new gas price gouging law visit https://www.gov.ca.gov/2023/06/26/nations-first-gas-price-gouging-law-in-effect/

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