Something has gone awry with California’s gas prices. U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein believes that the sharp increase in gas prices is unwarranted and suspects price gouging. She outlines in a recent letter how she thinks that a recent fire at a Richmond refinery is tied to the spike in prices. She expresses her concern over the impact it is having on the California economy and residents.
“The recent price spike began on August 6th, when a refinery fire at Chevron’s Richmond Refinery reduced refining capacity at the state’s third largest refinery,” Senator Feinstein wrote in a letter. “However, this dangerous incident has not resulted in a reduction of gasoline supply that would explain the recent rapid price increase.” This refinery is the third largest one in the state.
She also states in the letter: “Since August 6th, gasoline prices have risen 30 cents per gallon, reaching $4.21. As a result, California has the highest gas prices in the continental United States. The increase is more than double the increase in the national average over the same period.”
Feinstein has reached out to federal regulators to request an investigation. In her request, she wants to verify that there are no market schemes or market activities contributing to the increase in gas prices in California. She believes that the prices do not match basic supply and demand fundamentals. Recent increases in gas prices have landed California in the top spot as the state with the highest gas prices in the U.S.
Several red flags were raised as Feinstein referenced a spokeswoman from Chevron who stated that there was a generous supply of gas on the West Coast. Additional red flags include recent changes in driver habits like the use of carpooling, rideshare and the use of more fuel efficient vehicles. Feinstein believes that the better driving habits should be reflected in the gas prices appropriately.
Commuters and passengers concerned about Fontana taxi rates are all awaiting to hear if anything comes from the inquiry. Until then, California residents will have to brace themselves for high gas prices that could affect Fontana taxi rates as well as prices at the pump.