Sacramento – California lawmakers approved the first U.S. sanctions against gasoline prices on Monday, voting to give regulators the power to punish oil companies for profiting from the kind of price hikes that plagued the nation’s most famous last summer.
Democrats, who have worked to control the state Congress, will quickly pass the bill on Monday, just a week after the bill was introduced. It’s usually a controversial process, especially one opposed by the powerful oil industry, which has invested millions of dollars in delaying it.
The price of gasoline in the state of California is the most expensive in the country and one of the reasons is that oil companies are required to provide a special blend of gasoline that is less harmful to the environment.
High gasoline prices continue to affect many people. Of these, other products, including food, are now spending more, but what can we do to make our money go further?
Also, the prices in 2022 are not justified, state regulations explain.
Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, used his political power to carry out the initiative, which grew out of a special legislative session call last October to pass a new tax on oil company profits, after the average price of gasoline in the entity reached a record $1.70 per liter ($6.44 per gallon), according to American Automobile Association (AAA, for its English acronym).
Going against the oil industry has been a top political priority for Newsom, who is widely considered a potential future presidential candidate.
“When you get into the big oil companies, they tend to take you down … that’s exactly what they’ve done to consumers for years and years,” Newsom told reporters after the vote. “Meeting courage, conviction, and patience in Big Oil.”
Newsom is expected to sign the bill into law on Tuesday.
Legislative leaders rejected his initial appeal because they feared the new tax would discourage supply and lead to higher prices.
The owner of a gas station in Amherst, Massachusetts is so fed up with the increased prices that he has stopped selling gasoline.
Instead, Newsom and lawmakers agreed to let the California Energy Commission waive any potential sanctions on oil companies for price gouging.
The distinction made between experts, economists and investigators may require the submission of information and reports to the police and will have the power to report violations of the courts of prosecution.
The CEC will establish a penalty structure that can prevent oil companies from setting excessive prices and will eventually face civil charges against those who exceed the legal margin.
But they are pushing the initiative not with a possible sanction, but with an immense amount of new information that would force oil companies to declare to state regulators how they determine their prices.