Despite ranking among the most profitable corporations in the world, Big Oil benefits from $4 billion in annual tax breaks. It fights to maintain them through aggressive political donations, lobbying, and heavy ad spending, but also employs another tactic: Pretending these tax breaks don’t exist.
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.
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.
Take action! Submit an online comment or Letter to the Editor letting California leaders know we want to lift the veil on Big Oil and set the record straight on gas price manipulation. #stopfoolingCA #stopPickpockets
It’s a standard element of American politics: Gas prices are an evergreen subject of politicians’ campaign rhetoric, the standard measure of Americans’ economic worries and the weapon with which to wage war on unseen corporate evil-doers. Countless investigations on oil price manipulations have been ordered, but the smoking gun is never found.
San Francisco Chronicle: Bill to fight gas-price manipulation
OpEd by: Shannon Baker-Branstetter
May 23, 2013
There are some things you can count on during the summer months in San Francisco: morning fog, Giants baseball and, unfortunately for drivers, rising gas prices.
We know that weather and a dedicated fan base drive the first two, respectively. As for gas prices, the answer is debatable.
What we do know is that large oil companies hold a tremendous amount of power in California. Oil giants like Chevron, Valero and Tesoro have a virtual hold on the market, controlling supply, production and, ultimately, the price you pay for gas at the pump.
RICHMOND — State regulators said Thursday they may be within days of allowing Chevron to resume operations at its refinery in Richmond, which has been hobbled since a fire in August.
The state’s California Occupational Safety and Health Program, commonly known as Cal/OSHA, has been spending the week at the refinery to go over dozens of items related to its operations.
“If we are assured that everything meets our standards, we could lift the order prohibiting use at the refinery,” said Ellen Widess, chief at Cal/OSHA. “That could happen within a few days.”
Gas prices have steadily dropped for nearly a month in Los Angeles County, but a new government energy report shows that families are spending more to fuel up now than in previous years.
The average household spent almost $3,000 — or just under 4 percent of income before taxes — on buying gasoline in 2012, according to a U.S. Energy Information Administration report released last month.
NEW YORK — The U.S. is increasing its oil production faster than ever, and American drivers are guzzling less gas. But you’d never know it from the price at the pump.
The national average price of gasoline is $3.69 per gallon and forecast to creep higher, possibly approaching $4 by May.
“I just don’t get it,” says Steve Laffoon, a part-time mental health worker, who recently paid $3.59 per gallon to fill up in St. Louis.
U.S. oil output rose 14 percent to 6.5 million barrels per day last year – a record increase. By 2020, the nation is forecast to overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest crude oil producer. At the same time, U.S. gasoline demand has fallen to 8.7 million barrels a day, its lowest level since 2001, as people switch to more fuel-efficient cars.
With average gasoline prices topping $4 a gallon, fewer Southern California residents say they plan to take a leisure trip over spring break, according to a survey by the Auto Club of Southern California.
The annual survey of Auto Club members found that 47% said they plan at least one leisure trip this spring break season, compared to 57% in 2012 and 55% in 2011.
For close to a year, the companies that provide California with gasoline and diesel have warned that the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard is infeasible. A failure to recognize the implications of this warning risks potential fuel shortages and market disruptions in a few short years.
In response to these concerns, supporters of the standard argue the only thing making this regulation infeasible is the refusal of oil companies to invest sufficient dollars in the emerging fuels and technologies needed to make it work. This view was expressed with great clarity recently by venture capitalist Vinod Khosla who, perhaps inadvertently offered a compelling explanation why the low carbon standard cannot succeed.