Consumer Watchdog analysis of the latest government data has pointed out that Californians paid US$1 billion extra for their gasoline over the national average last month. The non-profit consumer group said refineries continued to reap a windfall in the wake of refinery shutdowns in February, driving prices at the pump artificially high, a situation exacerbated by low gasoline inventories in the state.
Jamie Court, Consumer Watchdog President said, “oil companies keep California running on empty so that when a refinery goes down gasoline prices go way up. In March, the average Californian had to work almost two extra hours to pay for higher California prices. With crude prices at historic lows and national gasoline prices stable, California oil refiners need to answer for the US$1 billion extra they charged last month. The legislature should demand that the companies explain their billion dollar bonanza.”
Consumer Watchdog’s analysis of EIA gasoline prices found:
- In March, California averaged 84 cents higher than the national average of US$2.54 /gal., or US$3.38 /gal. in the state.
- As a result, Californians spent US$1 046 772 798 more on gasoline in March than other US drivers.
- The gas price gap with America grew to over US$1 billion in March from US$550 million in February.
- The added cost to California drivers from the gap was US$34 million /d extra, or US$43 /driver, in March.
- Oil companies often argue that higher prices are due to California’s higher taxes, but when factoring for them, Californians still paid an extra US$860 million in March.
- In the first quarter of this year, the gap between US and California price cost drivers approximately US$2 billion more.
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