California state senator pushes for new bill requiring oil refineries to disclose profits

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As oil companies make record profits, a state senator is proposing a new law that would require refiners to disclose how much they earn on every gallon of gasoline they sell.

“Absolutely disclose it. I want to know,” driver Lana Terpaprian told CBSLA on Tuesday. “I’m literally so frustrated. A lot of my money, which I work hard for, just goes to my gas.”

The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline is $4.88, nearly $1.50 less than the California average of $6.30 per gallon. The glaring price discrepancy prompted a state senator to team up with a group called Consumer Watchdog to push through legislation that would require refiners to frequently disclose their detailed profits.

“This bill basically says ‘Show us the money. Show us how much you make, per gallon, per month,’” chairman Jamie Court said. “Unfortunately, the evidence we have available earnings per gallon information indicates that we are being ripped off to the core.”

The bill would require oil refiners to disclose their profit margins monthly. According to State Senator Ben Allen’s office, the five oil refiners that control 96% of California’s gas reap higher profits of 30 to 40 cents per gallon.

“Refiners and power producers are subject to numerous requirements from the California Energy Commission, such as reporting a number of supply, cost and factor issues,” said Western States Petroleum Association Vice President Kevin Slagle.

The WSPA represents oil producers and refiners.

“We believe this bill is a solution in search of a problem,” he added.

Slagle said there are a number of factors that make fuel more expensive in California.

“California is an energy island – we don’t import fuels through a pipeline from across the country,” Slagle said. “Our refiners here produce fuels that Californians use every day. What we don’t refine in California is imported from overseas.”

But at the pump, frustration — and at least some support for this bill.

“Yes, please disclose everything,” Terpapian added.

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