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.

Elias: Energy price manipulation found on two fronts

Anyone who thought manipulation of California energy prices ended with the criminal penalties assessed against executives of companies like Enron and Williams Energy after the state’s 2000-2001 electricity crunch turns out to have been hopelessly naive.

All the available evidence now suggests price-fixing continues not only in electric power, but that gasoline is also in play.

 

Consumer advocates say refineries may have falsified information

Consumer Watchdog, saying that refineries operating in the state may have falsified information to help boost gasoline prices, wants the California attorney general to launch a criminal investigation.

The advocacy group made its request in a letter to state Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris.

“It appears that California’s oil refineries falsified public information to drive up the price of gasoline,” Consumer Watchdog’s president, Jamie Court, and energy project director, Liza Tucker, said in the letter.