High Gas Prices in California Lead to Approval of Fines

California lawmakers approved the first U.S. sanctions against gasoline price gouging, voting to give regulators the power to punish oil companies for profiting from the kind of price hikes that plagued the nation’s most populous state. last summer.

Democrats who control the state Congress worked quickly to pass the bill on Monday, just a week after the bill was introduced. It was an unusually expedited process for a controversial issue, particularly one opposed by the powerful oil industry, which has invested millions of dollars to slow it down.

Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, used his political power to pass the initiative, which grew out of his call last October for a special legislative session to pass a new tax on oil company profits, then that the average price of gasoline in the entity set a record of 1.70 dollars per liter (6.44 dollars per gallon), according to the American Automobile Association (AAA, for its acronym in English). Going against the oil industry has been a top political priority for Newsom, who is widely considered a potential future presidential candidate.

“When you go after the big oil companies, they usually run you down … that’s exactly what they’ve been doing to consumers for years and years,” Newsom told reporters after the vote. “Congress had the courage, the conviction, and the stamina to take on Big Oil.”

Legislative leaders rejected his initial call for a new tax fearing it could discourage supply and lead to higher prices.

Instead, Newsom and lawmakers agreed to let the California Energy Commission decide any potential sanctions on oil companies for price gouging. But the crux of the initiative is not a possible sanction, but the enormous amount of new information that oil companies would be forced to reveal to state regulators about how they determine their prices.

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