Rising gas prices lead to government action

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Oct. 12, 2012 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

In response to rising gas prices, Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) has announced that his Senate Select Committee on Bay Area Transportation will convene a hearing this November to examine the reliability and safety of California’s gasoline production system and consider its impact on gas prices and the state’s economy.

The select committee will focus on two main topics:  the system reliability and economic impact of California refineries and the state’s oversight process related to refinery worker safety. Topics at the hearing are likely to include health and safety monitoring at California’s 15 oil refineries; state compliance and enforcement at those refineries; potential for manipulation of West Coast gas prices; refinery capacity and its relationship to gas prices and the economy and finally the Chevron Richmond refinery fire investigation.

“The volatile spikes in gas prices and gas shortages in our state in recent weeks indicate serious problems with California refineries.  I am concerned that refineries have no incentive for keeping their operations safe and fully functional because their profits increase greatly following any type of disruption, whether it is the consequence of a potentially deadly explosion or failed piping. Meanwhile, consumers are paying the price for these refinery errors, not only at the pumps, but also in the risks posed to public health and safety,” said Senator Leno.

Earlier this week, Governor Jerry Brown also reacted to the escalating gas prices by calling for the immediate release of the winter-blend gasoline, which is typically made available after October 31.  Allowing for the early usage of this gasoline could increase California’s fuel supply by as much as 8-10 percent.

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