Fuel Fight: California Tries to Kick the Oil Habit

Screen shot 2013-10-17 at 2.10.11 PM By Amy Harder | October 16, 2013

LOS ANGELES—Here in the land of perpetually jammed freeways, filling up downtown sets you back $5.09 a gallon. While the national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $3.36, you’d be hard pressed to find anything cheaper than $4 in L.A.

Californians are used to paying some of the highest energy prices in the country, especially in this sprawling city. Not coincidentally, they’re also living in the state most committed to combatting climate change, slashing fossil-fuel consumption, and ramping up renewable energy.

Cracks In The “Fueling California” Coalition: Walmart No Longer Involved

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Dana Hull | October 10, 2013 Remember Fueling California, the Chevron-funded group that is lobbying against California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard?

There appear to be some cracks in the organization’s armor. Fueling California’s board of directors once included representatives from United Airlines, Walmart, UPS, Chevron and others. But Fueling California’s website no longer lists the board of directors at all, and Walmart confirmed it is no longer involved.

Oil Lobbying in California

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By William Barrett, Center’s Stage

October 2, 2013

Through June of this year, Big Oil has spent over $5 million on lobbying California policy-makers (and no, that doesn’t include donations to political campaigns). The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA is the lobbying organization for California oil interests) spent over $20 million since 2009, and is again leading all spending to influence California politics, and Chevron isn’t far behind (see news coverage, here and here). Given the major oil lobbying push in the Capitol at the end of the legislative session in early September, it will not be a surprise if this trend holds.

 

Viewpoints: Bill focuses on gas price manipulation

Screen shot 2013-09-03 at 5.28.45 PM By Robert McCullough, The Sac Bee
August 31, 2013

California, we have a fuel problem.

Over the past two years, California gas prices have continued to soar, sparking some of the highest prices in the nation.

Oil companies are quick to point the finger at supply and demand, oil markets or the state’s clean air laws as causes for recent spikes, but don’t be fooled. These reasons merely serve as smokescreens to a much larger problem facing consumers at the pump – potential price manipulation.

However, for those concerned about gasoline following the oil price spike over the past few days, there’s possible relief in sight.

Climate change our most serious security threat

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Ask Adm. Samuel Locklear III, commander of the U.S. military’s sprawling Pacific Command, what his most serious threat is, and you might be surprised. There’s a long list of possibilities, after all: North Korean nukes, rising Chinese military power and aggressive cyberespionage, multiple territorial disputes between major powers and persistent insurgencies from the Philippines to Thailand, not to mention protecting some of the world’s most vulnerable shipping choke points. Add all of that up, though, and there’s something even more dangerous to keep even the most seasoned military officer up at night: the looming disaster of climate change.

United Airlines: Stop helping Chevron block clean energy in California

By Kevin Grandia
August 7, 2013

Flying Clean Alliance members, Stop Fooling California, have launched a new petition and a major ad campaign calling on United Airlines to stop helping oil-giant Chevron block clean energy in California.

Here’s the ad Stop Fooling California are running on major news sites in the Golden State:

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Tell United Airlines to stop helping Chevron turn the clock back toward a dirty energy past. Tell them to withdraw from the oil giant’s front group, and instead help California keep moving forward to a clean energy future.

Fuel standards bill’s implementation is vital to California

By Dr. James K. Brown

Oakland Tribune My Word © 2013 Bay Area News Group

August 6, 2013

One year ago Tuesday, a fire at Chevron’s Richmond oil refinery sent black smoke wafting across the East Bay.

Contra Costa Health Services asked residents to stay in their homes, close the windows, and wait it out. About 11,000 people sought medical treatment. Many suffered from eye, nasal and throat irritations that were short-lived. For those with pre-existing asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, their cough and shortness of breath increased dramatically, sometimes for extended periods.

This refinery fire was a dramatic demonstration that air pollution is bad for our health. A more compelling concern is the evidence that chronic, low-level exposure to air pollution has serious long-lasting adverse effects, including stunting of lung growth and increasing asthma among children, premature death in those with chronic lung diseases, and heart attacks.

The Price of Oil Is Rigged

Raymond J. Learsy

Huffington Post – The Blog

August 5, 2013

The U.S. oil market is well supplied, with U.S. commercial crude oil inventories near all time highs, with production of U.S. oil increasing by some million barrels/day from a year ago, with weekly inventory of gasoline jumping by 800,00bbls equivalent last week alone, while Chinese demand is flat to down and the risks to Suez canal transit have abated. Yet the price of oil has jumped by some 9.5 percent over the last thirty days. This while virtually all basic commodities have gone down in price significantly.

How do I know the price of oil is rigged? I don’t, and that is the problem. There is no transparency whatsoever in the trading of oil on the commodity exchanges. We don’t know who is taking positions and for whose account. Are the oil companies themselves directly or indirectly, or the sovereign wealth funds of oil-producing nations with their billions upon billions of invest-able capital pushing up prices by buying oil derivatives ? Trading on the Exchanges, including such as the New York Mercantile Exchange or the Atlanta ‘ICE’ in oil futures/derivatives has exploded exponentially whereby paper barrel contracts dwarf actual oil production by a factor of thirty to one, I repeat, 30 to 1. (“Policy Brief #25 United Nations Conference On Trade and Development” 09.12)

High Oil Prices Pump Up Concern

By Charlie Feder

Monday, July 29, 2013

Summer is under way, with its barbecues, parades, beach trips – and higher gas prices. And Angelenos recently found themselves paying a dizzying 11 cents more for every gallon – in an area that already ranks among the top five in the nation for high gas prices.

As a business owner who operates an all-natural gas fleet, we will avoid the fluctuations of summer gas prices, but our customers will feel the impacts.

Meanwhile, with $44 billion in profits last year, the oil companies’ grip on the industry affects our personal savings and business operations, and the nation’s economy. To be sure, gas prices rise and fall for many reasons, but one dangerous constant is that here in California, in particular, large oil companies are increasingly consolidated, reducing competition and generating concerns that consumers have ever-fewer defenses.

Gas prices rise with no relief in sight yet

July 22, 2013 at 10:04 AM ET

American motorists are bracing for further increases in gas pump prices this summer after average national prices rose 12 cents in the past week alone.

AAA says drivers are experiencing “sticker shock” as increased summer demand, unrest in Egypt and production disruptions in the U.S. and other countries push up the price of crude oil and gasoline.

The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline was $3.67 a gallon on Friday.

AAA says that’s 23 cents more expensive than the same time last year but still below the all-time daily high of $4.11 a gallon on July 17, 2008.

The association says retail gas prices are likely to rise more in the coming weeks.

Unscheduled refinery shutdowns or hurricanes on the U.S. Gulf Coast could also add to price increases.