California motorists are paying over $6 per gallon for gas, and officials have been stuck for months trying to figure out how to help. Monday’s announcement by the state Assembly that they will be investigating oil companies it claims are being unfairly charged. “abusing a historic situation to suck profits from Californians’ wallets.”
Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon announced a bipartisan committee to investigate gas price gouging, with plans to question oil companies, regulators and economists to find out why California’s gas prices are consistently the highest in the country.
California’s gas prices are currently the highest in the U.S., with the average price per gallon at $6.40 on Monday compared to the national average of $4.98.
“We have put ourselves in a situation because of our addiction to the gas-powered engine. Yet that is no excuse for the actions of those who pin California drivers down with a foot on our necks and a hand in our pockets,”Rendon spoke.
Republicans mocked the investigation on Monday, blaming Democrats for California’s record-high gas prices because they have refused to temporarily stop taxing gasoline as other states have done to control costs. Democratic President Joe Biden said Monday that he had been considering suspending temporarily the suspension. federal gas taxThis move could save drivers 18.4c per gallon.
“Instead of suspending the state’s gas tax, Sacramento Democrats are creating a committee?”Vince Fong is an Assembly member who serves as the Republican vice chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee. “Enough with the political antics. Suspend the gas tax now.”
California Democrats claim they are afraid that the gas tax being suspended would only benefit the big oil companies. In the past, state regulators were accused of artificially raising prices in a state with over 36 million vehicles.
Catherine Reheiss-Boyd is the president and CEO at the Western States Petroleum Association. She said that she agrees Californians pay too much for fuel, and warned “it could only get worse” if state officials don’t “take responsibility and act not to change the dangerous mix of bans, mandates and bad energy policy they are pushing on our state.”
“This Legislature and the Governor should be urgently addressing these policy matters rather than holding press conferences calling for more investigations that time after time have found our industry is acting responsibly,” Reheis-Boyd said.
California gas prices have historically been among the country’s highest, prompting a number of previous studies and inquiries by state officials — including an investigation by former Attorney General Bill Lockyer, who was outraged when prices reached $1.71 per gallon in San Francisco in 1999.
According to the California Energy Commission, 85 cents of every gallon of gasoline sold in California is made up of state, local, and federal taxes. Profits, crude oil, distribution and marketing costs account for the rest.
However, 2019 Review by state regulators suggested big oil companies were “misleading and overcharging”Customers can save as much as $1 on their gas, which means that California drivers will pay an extra $11.6 billion over five years compared to other states.
Gov. Gavin Newsom requested an investigation by state attorney general. This investigation is still pending almost three years later.
Instead of suspending the gas tax, California Democrats want to use the state’s record-breaking budget surplus of nearly $100 billion to send money directly to taxpayers to help offset the high price of fuel. However, Newsom has not been able to reach an agreement with Democrats in the state Legislature on how to proceed.
Rendon, speaker of the Democratic Assembly, stated that legislative leaders made progress this weekend in marathon negotiation sessions with Newsom. But “we’re not ready to make any announcements yet,”He said.
Republicans held a press conference last week to mark 100 days since Democrats promised to take action on high gas prices. Republicans don’t have enough seats in the Legislature to pass bills on their own.
“We are still waiting with no relief in sight,”James Gallagher, Assembly Republican leader, stated. “We need action now.”