Mark Leno On Oil Refinery Power Over CA Fuel Costs: “it is Wanting Like An Oligarchy”
Rising fuel prices in California led two state lawmakers to hold a listening to in San Francisco right this moment seeking explanations.
State Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, chair of the state Senate Choose Committee on Bay Area Transportation, held an informational hearing at San Francisco’s State Building this morning to discuss the oil refinery trade and gasoline prices within the wake of the Richmond Chevron refinery hearth in August and a statewide fuel worth spike in October.
Leno, along with Coal state Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Oakland, led the 2-plus-hour lengthy panel at a convention heart at 455 Golden Gate Ave. with refinery, gasoline and vitality experts, together with speakers from the California Energy Commission and Western States Petroleum Association.
Leno addressed points including the highest recorded gasoline costs for California shoppers this yr, notably in October, and his fear that refinery and oil companies are profiting on the expense of working class residents.
“It’s not fairly a monopoly,” he stated, however “it’s wanting like an oligarchy,” Leno stated, referring to the seven oil corporations operating in California.
He posed the overarching question of whether or not or not the oil trade needs more stringent regulation by the state, including that the discussion of how fuel costs are set was overdue at the state level.
“At what level ought to the state step in and say we are going to place in laws ” he requested.
Tupper Hull of Western States Petroleum Affiliation overviewed the oil industry in California, which is usually described as a “fuel island” due to its lack of pipelines and dependence on tankers to herald imported oil.
“Every drop of oil we don’t produce right here comes here in a tanker,” he mentioned.
There are 14 oil refineries statewide, with 5 in the Bay Space, including the Richmond Chevron refinery, which sustained a big-scale blaze on Aug. 6 when a corroded pipe exploded.
“We have an amazing appetite for petroleum in California,” he said.
California makes use of 14 billion gallons of gas per year, in accordance with consultants.
Leno expressed concern a few report-excessive worth on Oct. Eight when gas stations statewide have been averaging $4.67 per gallon.
Now in mid-November, retail prices have dropped below prices earlier wti crude oil app than the Aug. 6 hearth in Richmond, in response to Gordon Schremp, senior fuels specialist with the California Energy Commission.
As to the impact of the Richmond refinery fire, Schremp said there’s proof that refineries can nonetheless produce at some level throughout upkeep shutdowns or unexpected events, however that fuel prices usually go up following these disruptions with holds on output.
Any scheduled shutdowns are something Leno and Hancock repeatedly noted needs to be public information, to ensure refineries do not bump up gas prices when demand goes up, especially at first of summer time.
After listening to from different specialists, together with wti crude oil app Severin Borenstein, director of the University of California at Berkeley Power Institute and energy consultant Robert McCullough, Leno concluded that the committee didn’t know sufficient to make a dedication as to what legislative motion was wanted relating to the state’s oil trade.
However, he mentioned it has turn into evident details about refinery procedures must be extra publicly and readily out there.
“I’m afraid if we do nothing…I’ll be surprised if the (fuel price) spikes go away,” he said.
Sasha Lekach, Bay City News
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