California lawmaker wants to reveal monthly oil refinery profits

The spike in gas prices could lead to new legislation in California that would make it a requirement for oil refiners to share their monthly profit margins for refined gasoline on every gallon. 

The pain at the pump has been astronomical, especially for California residents who pay more than anyone else nationwide due to the state’s gas and environment tax. 

So, who’s getting all the money for the spike in gas prices?

The Consumer Watchdog organization is aiming to find out and Democratic Senator Ben Allen is pushing for the proposed legislation that would cause oil refiners to be more transparent by essentially disclosing the price they pay for crude oil once a month, in addition to how much is made by the profit margin. 

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"Californians are paying way too much for gasoline," said Jamie Court with Consumer Watchdog, who added "they’ve been ripping us off for far too long," in reference to the oil refiners. "We even have a name for it. It’s called the ‘Golden State gouge.’"

The marketplace in the Golden State is also structured quite differently compared to other states. Five oil refiners control 96% of the gasoline made in California, meaning they have the ability to sell gas at their branded retail gas stations at prices between 30 and 40 cents higher than unbranded stations.

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"Why is it that Californians drivers pay way more at the pump than they should out of collective costs of over $1 billion every single year?" asked Sen. Ben Allen (D-Los Angeles County). He said proposed Senate Bill 1322 "will then provide us with a clear picture of who and what is behind this mystery gas surcharge." 

The group representing the oil refiners said Friday’s press conference at Consumer Watchdog was "just theatrics" and that they’re relying on the prices of crude oil and the unrest in Ukraine factor into the soaring prices at the pump. 

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