California Eyes Penalty For Excessive Oil Company Profits

December 6, 2022

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) introduced legislation Monday that would impose a so-called price-gouging penalty on Big Oil for excessive profits.

What is considered an “excessive” level of profit would be determined by state lawmakers. Further, any money collected from Big Oil fines would be returned to the public, Newsom said during a special legislative session in Sacramento.

“California’s price gouging penalty is simple–either Big Oil reins in the profits and prices, or they’ll pay a penalty,” Newsom said in a press release. “Big Oil has been lying and gouging Californians to line their own pockets long enough. I look forward to the work ahead with our partners in the Legislature to get this done.”

Gas prices are always higher in California than in the rest of the country due to taxes, fees and environmental regulations that other states don’t have. In October, though, the average price for a gallon of gas in California reached its highest disparity ever: more than $2.60 above the national average. In fact, Californians have paid about $6 per gallon throughout 2022. 

However, the state legislature did not appear to be in any rush to pass Newsom’s bill. The special session convened for just a few minutes and is not set to reconvene again until January. 

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