Nonprofits want oil refiners to fully disclose their California profits

Nonprofits want oil refiners to fully disclose their California profits

Nonprofit groups Consumer Watchdog and NextGen Climate have called for a change in California law to force oil refiners to disclose their profits and protect consumers from excessive prices at the pump.

According to figures released by the American Automobile Association (AAA), the average price of gasoline in Los Angeles County has slipped 35 cents from last month to $3.95 a gallon now. But it is still significantly higher than the national average of $2.63 cents per gallon.

At a press conference on Wednesday, officials from the two nonprofits said Californian drivers collectively paid $1.2 billion more than the rest of the nation for the fuel. They stressed that higher fuel prices remained a big problem for Californians and a big profit for the oil firms.

Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog, said, "In the second week of July, $1.61 of every gallon went to the oil refiners' profits and costs -- $1.61 of our $4 a gallon is going right to the oil refineries, usually its 48 cents. The oil refineries are getting rich on our expense."

He showed a graphic indicating Valero's refining profit jumped 11 times more than its last year's level. Chevron, the largest refinery in California, is reporting pocketing two times higher profits than its average in the Golden State.

The nonprofit groups are hoping to get a measure on the November ballot that would make it mandatory for all oil companies to fully disclose their profits; maintain minimum fuel reserves to prevent a quick price hike; and notify the public of planned refinery maintenances in advance.

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