Newsom’s Oil Profit Penalty Plan Could Face Tough Slog in Legislature

Gas PumpsA proposal from Governor Gavin Newsom to impose a “price-gouging penalty” on oil companies in response to record gas prices last year received a skeptical reception from state lawmakers during its first hearing Wednesday.

A panel of researchers and industry experts told the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee that the proposal would not fully address the reasons for last year’s price spikes or necessarily lower prices day-to-day.

California drivers have for years paid more at the pump on average than consumers in other states due to a mix of taxes and fees, environmental regulations, and an isolated market. Energy experts also point to a “mystery surcharge” that accounts to about 40 cents per gallon paid by California drivers, which appeared soon after a 2015 refinery explosion in Torrance.

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