California State House Democrats announced a bipartisan committee to investigate the cause of high gas prices

Sacramento, California. — With California drivers paying more than $6 for a gallon of gas and state officials deadlocked for months on how to provide relief, state legislators announced Monday that they will investigate oil companies they say are “exploiting a historic situation to suck profits out of governors.” California “.

Association President Anthony Rendon has announced a bipartisan commission to investigate gas price gouging, with plans to question oil companies, regulators and economists to find out why California’s gas prices are constantly rising.

Gas prices in California are currently the highest in the United States, averaging $6.40 a gallon on Monday compared to the national average of $4.98.

“We’ve put ourselves in a situation because of our addiction to the gas-powered engine,” Rendon said. “However, that’s no excuse for the actions of those who hang California drivers with a foot on our necks and a hand in our pockets.” .

Republicans mocked the investigation Monday, blaming Democrats for California’s record-high gas prices because they refused to pause taxing gasoline as other states have done to control costs. Democratic President Joe Biden said Monday that he is considering a temporary suspension of the federal gas tax, a move that could save drivers 18.4 cents a gallon.

“Instead of suspending the state’s gas tax, Sacramento Democrats form a committee?” said Assembly Member Vince Fong, Republican Vice Chairman of the House Budget Committee. “Enough political behavior. Stop the gas tax now.”

California Democrats say they fear that suspending the gas tax will only benefit the oil majors, which state regulators have accused in the past of artificially inflating prices in a state with more than 36 million registered cars on the road.

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Kathryn Rihes Boyd, president and CEO of the Western Petroleum Association of the United States, said she agreed Californians were paying too much for fuel and warned that “it could get worse” if state officials “don’t take responsibility and act not to change the risky combination of bans.” And the mandates and bad energy policy they are pushing into our state.”

“This legislature and governor should urgently address these policy issues rather than hold press conferences calling for further investigations that have found time and time again that our industry is behaving responsibly,” said Rhees Boyd.

California gas prices have historically been among the highest in the country, prompting a number of studies and previous inquiries by state officials — including an investigation by former Attorney General Bill Locker, who was furious when prices reached $1.71 a gallon in San Francisco. in 1999.

State, local and federal taxes make up 85 cents for every gallon of gas sold in the state, factoring in crude oil costs, distribution, marketing, and profits for everything else, according to the California Energy Commission.

But a 2019 review by state regulators noted that the oil majors were “misleading and increasing customer fees” by up to $1 per gallon, driving California drivers $11.6 billion more at the pump over five years than in other states.

Government. Gavin Newsom has requested an investigation by the state attorney general, one that is still pending nearly three years later.

Instead of suspending the gas tax, California Democrats want to use the state’s record budget surplus of nearly $100 billion to send money directly to taxpayers to help offset higher fuel prices. But nothing has happened so far because the Democrats who control the state legislature have been unable to agree with Newsom on how to do so.

Rendon, the chair of the Democratic Caucus, said legislative leaders made progress over the weekend during marathon negotiating sessions with the Newsom administration. But he said, “We are not ready to announce any statements yet.”

From now on, Republicans held a news conference last week to mark 100 days since Democrats pledged action to tackle rising gas prices. Republicans do not have enough seats in the legislature to pass bills themselves.

“We are still waiting and there is no respite in sight,” said Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher. “We need to act now.”

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