The California Energy Commission (CEC) is hosting an informational hearing to gather and review information regarding California’s petroleum fuels market, including recent gasoline price spikes and refinery operations as the industry reports record profits. The Commission will discuss the conditions impacting recent trends and consider mitigation strategies to insulate consumers from price shocks as the state transitions away from fossil fuels.
Public comment is at the end of the hearing. Comments may be limited to three minutes or less per speaker and one person per organization. Depending on the number of people seeking to comment, the facilitator may adjust the total time and the time allotted for each comment. If you’re participating via Zoom, use the “raise hand” feature to participate.
Some highlights from the Notice:
On September 30, 2022, CEC Chair David Hochschild sent a letter to oil industry executives seeing answers on the sudden, unprecedented spike in gas prices that was occurring as crude oil costs were decreasing. CEC staff analysis shows refinery costs and profits increased $1.54 per gallon from August 29 to September 26. [A Consumer Watchdog review reveals that four of the five California refiners together posted 30% higher profits per gallon from gasoline sold on the West Coast than “anywhere else in the nation or world.”]
In response, Governor Gavin Newsom directed the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to make an early transition to winter-blend gasoline to increase supply and called for a special session to address windfall profits in the oil industry (emphasis added).
During the CEC’s October 12, 2022, business meeting, Chair Hochschild acknowledged oil industry response letters and directed staff to organize a workshop to have a public dialog as a next step in better understanding the issues. The CEC is requesting that industry representatives and experts provide answers regarding inventory management practices and other factors that are cited as reasons for the recent spikes in gasoline pricing in California — the highest California has seen over the last 25 years. Panelists will also be asked to propose and discuss long-term solutions on how California can successfully transition to a clean transportation fuels energy future. The CEC acknowledges participants may take the position that they have information-sharing constraints imposed by federal anti-trust laws. Participants may rely on their own discretion in determining what information they will provide in a public forum.
California’s carbon neutrality goals are expected to drive down the demand for petroleum fuels, while supply of fuels is becoming constrained due to California’s unique blends, the isolated market, the impact of refinery outages, and retirements of existing refineries. The CEC is proposing a study to develop an understanding of the impact of climate goals on supply and demand for petroleum fuels, in-state production capacity, and the reliability and affordability of petroleum fuels.
Tuesday, November 29, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Or by phone: Call toll-free at (888) 475-4499 or toll at (669) 219-2599. When prompted, enter the Webinar ID: 996 9202 9987 and passcode: IEPR2022.
Warren-Alquist State Energy Building
Rosenfeld Hearing Room, First Floor
1516 Ninth St., Sacramento 95814