Consumer Watchdog has reiterated calls for an increase in California’s state oil reserves as Los Angeles gasoline prices jump US$1.03 cents in a month, the highest in the state, according to AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report website. LA prices at the pump for regular gas have now hit US$3.35/gal., a dollar and nine cents, or 45% higher than the national average of US$2.44/gal.
Consumer Adovate, Liza Tucker said, “Angelenos are feeling the brunt of a statewide crisis, California oil refiners’ stranglehold on supply that gives them free rein to manipulate the market and spike prices even as crude prices remain low. Lawmakers have a simple solution at hand, mandating a minimum 24 days of supply of gasoline. It’s time to bring California up to national standards and remove a key supply metric from the oil companies’ control.”
Consumer Watchdog has called on Governor Brown and regulators to investigate refinery closures since refineries began slowing production in early February. Tesoro’s Martinez refinery was shut down on February 2 during the steelworker’s nationwide strike, despite its CEO’s assurances to investors that refineries can continue operating with lower staff levels indefinitely. Production was further cut after an explosion at Exxon’s Torrance refinery. The two refineries together represent 16.5% of the state’s refining capacity.
Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon has announced hearings into the Torrance refinery explosion, refinery infrastructure, and on gasoline pricing and supply. Consumer Watchdog is also pressing lawmakers to pass legislation mandating onsite inspections when refineries close to determine if the closures are for legitimate reasons.
Edited from press release by Claira Lloyd
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