Levine, Hill call for swift investigation of mysterious high gas prices

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SACRAMENTO– Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-Marin County) and State Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) today applauded Governor Gavin Newsom’s action requesting an investigation of a “mystery surcharge” in the state’s retail gas prices by Attorney General Xavier Becerra. Earlier this year, Levine, Hill and seventeen other legislators called for an investigation into potentially illegal price fixing in the state’s retail gasoline market after the state’s Petroleum Market Advisory Committee found irregularities in the price of gas at large retail establishments.

This spring, Governor Newsom directed the California Energy Commission (CEC) to begin an in-depth analysis of this “mystery surcharge”. The CEC released its findings yesterday, noting that, “in 2018, Californians paid an average of 30 cents more per gallon of gasoline at higher-priced retail outlets such as 76, Chevron, and Shell, than the average American paid for gasoline in other states. This is equivalent to an extra $4.50 to fill up a 15-gallon gasoline tank.” In total, the CEC believes that the “mystery surcharge” cost California gasoline consumers an estimated additional $1.5 billion in 2018 and $11.6 billion over the last five years.

“Potential price fixing of gasoline by California oil companies is the latest chapter in a long tale of greed and callous disregard for California’s environment and consumers by Big Oil,” said Assemblymember Levine. “Attorney General Becerra’s investigation into California’s “mystery surcharge” should be thorough and swift. It is time to get to the bottom of why California consumers pay more at the gas pump for the same quality gasoline sold throughout western United States. California consumers cannot wait.”

The CEC’s full report to the governor can be found HERE.

“It’s time to clear up this mystery. Californians want to know why we’ve been saddled with this surcharge and deserve answers,” said State Senator Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties. “We applaud Governor Newsom for pressing forward on this issue and the attorney general for taking it on.”

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