Attorney General Investigating Gas Price Gouging in California

The California Attorney General's office said they are now investigating unusual pricing strategies by oil refiners a week after Consumer Watchdog presented it with evidence that oil refiners were artificially manipulating gasoline prices by leveraging their branded gasoline station contracts.
Californian drivers, who have paid an average of 74 cents more per gallon at the pump than drivers nationwide, have shelled out $4.5 billion more for their gasoline than US drivers from February to June.
The nonprofit group’s analysis is based on statewide consumption and the higher amount oil companies have charged Californians compared to the rest of the nation for gasoline from February to June, when refineries started going down and gasoline prices began spiking.
The “gouging gap” has cost California consumers $214 million extra per week or $180 more per California driver thus far since February. Gasoline prices are expected to rise in coming days by 15 to 30 cents as oil refiners continue to keep California drivers on tight supplies and imports of gasoline grind to a stop.
In last week's report, analysis showed that refiners kept prices artificially high by overcharging their branded gas stations 30 to 40 cents more for gasoline than they were charging to independent or unbranded stations. The pricing technique may have violating anti-trust laws, and a deal that Tesoro made with Attorney General Harris when the refiner purchased all of the Southern California ARCO stations from BP. In the deal, Tesoro agreed to maintain ARCO’s status as a low cost fuel provider.

Read Consumer Watchdog’s analysis to state regulators here:

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