The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Oil Price Gouging Behind Drive To Stop Greenhouse Gas Caps


California's Proposition 23 seeks to suspend a 2006 law intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As of October 8, oil company Valero has donated more than $4 million to the effort to suspend the law.

Court is author of the new book The Progressive's Guide To Raising Hell: How To Win Grassroots Campaigns and president of Consumer Watchdog, which just released the report "Valero Energy and its California Profit Pipeline." He said today: "Environmentalists have been fighting Proposition 23 on the basis that oil companies want to keep polluting in the state. The bigger truth is that oil companies want to keep price gouging the state's motorists, and suspending the law to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is a tool to allow the refiners to continue to charge too much for gasoline and make too much profit per gallon. It's all about dollars and cents per gallon.

"The report shows Californians have endured higher gasoline prices than the rest of the nation while Texas-based Valero has averaged 37 percent higher margins on each barrel of oil it refined in California. The result -- $4.5 billion in profits for Valero.

"Valero's high profitability in California depends on regaining and keeping high refining margins in the state, which requires weak regulation of the industry and steadily increasing gasoline consumption by California drivers. As the public hears more from Valero through its political campaigns, it is important to understand this company's role in California's long struggle with unbearably high fuel prices, and its history of squeezing big profits by gouging California motorists."

A nationwide consortium, the Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA) represents an unprecedented effort to bring other voices to the mass-media table often dominated by a few major think tanks. IPA works to broaden public discourse in mainstream media, while building communication with alternative media outlets and grassroots activists.