A special session bill. Pursuant to the Governor’s call for a special session in November 2022 to hold the oil industry accountable for price gouging.
Existing law requires operators of refineries in the state that produce gasoline meeting California specifications, within 30 days of the end of each calendar month, to submit a report to the California Energy Commission (CEC) containing certain information regarding its refining activities related to the production of gasoline in that month, including the gross gasoline refining margin of gasoline sold in that month. Existing law requires the CEC within 45 days of the end of each calendar month to post certain information on its website.
This bill would:
- Authorize the CEC to set a maximum gross gasoline refining margin
- Require the CEC, if the Commission establishes the maximum gross gasoline refining margin, to establish a penalty for exceeding the maximum gross gasoline refining margin
- Authorize the CEC to petition the court to enjoin a refiner from exceeding the maximum gross gasoline refining margin.
- Authorize the CEC to impose an administrative civil penalty on a refiner for exceeding the maximum gross gasoline refining margin
- Require the CEC to consider a refiner’s request for an exemption from the maximum gross gasoline refining margin
- Require a refiner seeking an exemption to file a statement under the penalty of perjury setting forth the facts that form the basis for the request for exemption. By requiring the statement to be filed under the penalty of perjury, the bill would expand the scope of the crime of perjury, thereby imposing a state-mandated local program
- Require the penalties collected to be deposited into a Price Gouging Penalty Fund, which the bill would create in the State Treasury The bill would require moneys in the fund, upon appropriation by the Legislature, to be used to address any consequences of price gouging on Californians
- Require the California State Auditor, no later than March 1, 2033, to complete an audit and performance review of the maximum gross gasoline refining margin and penalty, if set by the CEC
- Require the California State Auditor to make a determination in a report to the Legislature and the commission, by no later than June 1, 2033, as to whether the maximum gross gasoline refining margin and penalty is achieving the intended goal to reduce gasoline price spikes and stabilize the gasoline fuel supply market.
If the California State Auditor concludes that the maximum gross gasoline refining margin and penalty should be terminated, the bill would require the CEC, within 180 days after the issuance of the report, to cease implementing the maximum gross gasoline refining margin and penalty, except as provided.
This bill would require the CEC, in cooperation with the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration, to submit a report to the Legislature, on or before March 1 of each year, that includes a review of the price of gasoline in California and its impact on state revenues for the previous calendar year, as provided. The bill would authorize the department to request from any person certain records required to be maintained and any records in the person’s possession, custody, or control that the department deems necessary to facilitate the report or to assist the commission.
(For more see full bill text and related information below)
STATUS: SIGNED by the Governor on March 28, 2023