[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Calendar


U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer

[Sen. Boxer] – U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., called on the Department of Justice’s Oil and Gas Price Fraud Working Group on Monday to investigate the recent spike in gas prices hitting Californians at the pump.

“Californians have too often been victimized as unscrupulous traders have created or taken advantage of supply disruptions to drive up energy prices,” Boxer wrote. “We cannot allow market manipulation by those who would seek to profit off the pain of our families at the pump.”

In the letter, Senator Boxer pointed to published reports this week that cited energy traders saying that the sudden rise in gas prices had “many of the hallmarks of a classic short squeeze.” Boxer urged the Oil and Gas Price Fraud Working Group to investigate whether traders colluded to drive up the price paid by California families at the pump.

In her letter, Senator Boxer acknowledged the maintenance issues facing California refineries beginning with the shutdown of Chevron’s Richmond refinery in August due to a fire, the power outage at Exxon Mobil’s Torrance refinery, and the September shutdown of a Chevron pipeline that supplies crude from the Central Valley to the Bay Area. But noting a pattern of similar maintenance issues at West Coast refineries that led to price spikes earlier this year, Boxer wrote, “it is critical that we ensure that these shutdowns are not part of any broader effort to deliberately keep gasoline supplies tight—and prices high—at the expense of consumers.”

The full text of the Senator’s letter is below.

 

October 8, 2012

The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr.

Attorney General of the United States

U.S. Department of Justice

950 Pennsylvania Ave., NW

Washington, D.C. 20530-0001

 

Dear Attorney General Holder:

I am writing to request that the Oil and Gas Price Fraud Working Group initiate an investigation into the surge in gas prices in California.

I was particularly concerned to see a Reuters report that cited energy traders saying that a 97-cent price spike for prompt-delivery CARBOB gasoline this week had “many of the hallmarks of a classic short squeeze.” According to those industry sources, when West Coast refiner Tesoro Corporation was caught short of the supplies it needed, traders were able to quickly profit as prices skyrocketed. The Oil and Gas Price Fraud Working Group, working with its partner agencies, should immediately investigate whether any of these traders colluded to manipulate and drive up gas prices at the expense of Tesoro and California consumers.

Californians have too often been victimized as unscrupulous traders have created or taken advantage of supply disruptions to drive up energy prices. We cannot allow market manipulation by those who would seek to profit off the pain of our families at the pump.

I also urge the Working Group to closely examine the maintenance issues that continue to plague West Coast refineries. Last week, a power outage forced Exxon Mobil’s Torrance refinery to temporarily shut down, and it has been operating below capacity since then. This incident followed the shutdown of Chevron’s Richmond refinery in August due to a fire, and the September shutdown of a Chevron pipeline that supplies crude from the Central Valley to Bay Area refineries due to elevated organic chloride levels in the crude stream. This follows a pattern of refinery shutdowns earlier this year that also led to price spikes. While all these incidents may be unrelated, it is critical that we ensure that these shutdowns are not part of any broader effort to deliberately keep gasoline supplies tight—and prices high—at the expense of consumers.

The situation in California is very serious. In some areas, consumers are waiting in long lines to buy gas at record prices. Many stations have had to turn customers away because they have run out of supplies. Too many families are paying close to or above $5 a gallon for gas. These conditions are hitting families hard and hindering California’s economic recovery.

On behalf of my constituents, I urge you to investigate these recent price spikes. I look forward to your prompt reply.

Sincerely,

Barbara Boxer

United States Senator

Comment On This Story

1 Comment

  1. Jason says:

    From the news reports the gas stations with the highest prices buy on the spot market, like Costco. They had to raise prices so they wouldn’t run out since their supplies were cut first. Barbara will discover the same thing the investigation found during Katrina, small gas stations price gouged, but no major oil companies. Barbara was not happy with the result and personally insulted the FTC rep until she started to cry.

Leave a Comment


Related Content
Latest Stories on SCVNews.com
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is reminding the public about criminals who are posing as government agencies and using the telephone as part of an extortion scam.
Sheriff: Beware of Phone Scams by Impostors
The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce will host an open house at its new headquarters in Valencia on Thursday, January 4 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Jan. 4: Open House at New SCV Chamber of Commerce Office
The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce has opened nominations for 2017 business awards in four categories.
Nominations Now Open for SCV Chamber 2017 Awards
Here's the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station's public safety report for Newhall (Zone 6) for the week of December 4.
Crime Blotter: Spousal Assault, Robbery, Grand Theft in Newhall
1929 - Swift justice: Thomas Vernon sentenced to life in prison for Saugus train derailment & robbery 1 month earlier [story]
A transformative epoch in Santa Clarita Valley history drew to an uncharacteristically quiet close Saturday with the death of Bobbie Trueblood Davis at age 93.
Pre-City Leader Bobbie Trueblood Davis Dies at 93
"The final tax reform bill released punishes homeowners and weakens homeownership, and in fact, it looks at homeowners and the housing market as nothing more than a piggy bank," said C.A.R. President Steve White.
Realtors: Final GOP Tax Bill Punishes Homeowners
1925 - Jenks Harris robs Piru bank of $11,000 [story]
1902 - Hi Jolly (Hadji Ali), Gen. E.F. Beale's Syrian camel driver, dies at Quartzsite, Ariz. [story]
The National Weather Service has called a Fire Weather Watch for this weekend for Los Angeles and Ventura County mountains and valleys including the Santa Clarita Valley due to gusty northeast wind and low relative humidity.
Weekend Fire Weather Watch Called for SCV
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies arrested a 21-year-old man who had an outstanding warrant and was allegedly in possession of cocaine in Canyon Country early Thursday.
Bicyclist Arrested for Warrant, Cocaine in Canyon Country
Valencia-based Princess Cruises, voted the #1 international cruise line in Japan, announced its 2019 program featuring Japanese-built Diamond Princess returning for her sixth season, sailing roundtrip from Tokyo (Yokohama) and Kobe.
Princess Cruises Unveils 2019 Japan Cruise Program
Valencia-based Princess Cruises released its 2019 Canada and New England cruise schedule, featuring Regal Princess and Caribbean Princess on the line’s largest fall deployment and the opportunity to visit Greenland roundtrip from New York
Princess Cruises Sets Fall 2019 Cruises to Canada, New England
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department looks back at five years of work by its Domestic Highway Enforcement Team, which has disrupted the operations of the drug cartels by confiscating millions of dollars in illegal drugs and drug money.
Elite LASD Drug Enforcement Team Disrupts Cartel Operations
College of the Canyons quarterback Andrew Brito, wide receiver Desean Holmes and linebacker KJ Latu have been named to the 2017 Region III All-California Community College Football Team.
Brito, Holmes, Latu Represent Cougars on All-State Team
Tickets and sponsorships are now available for the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce's 2018 awards ceremony and installation of new officers at Tournament Players Club in Valencia on Friday night, January 26.
Jan. 26: SCV Chamber of Commerce 2018 Awards, Installation Gala
Sponsorships are now open for the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation's 2018 Economic Outlook Conference, set for Thursday, March 8, 2018 at a location to be announced shortly.
SCV 2018 Economic Outlook Conference Tickets, Sponsorships Open
SetPoint Medical, a Valencia-based biomedical company developing therapy for chronic inflammatory diseases, has received approval from the FDA to initiate a pilot trial in the U.S. for patients with drug-refractory rheumatoid arthritis.
FDA OK’s SetPoint Bioelectronic Therapy Study for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., representing the United States - and states and regions leading on climate across the globe - joined world leaders at the One Planet Summit Tuesday, the two-year anniversary of the Paris Agreement.
Brown in Paris: ‘We Can’t Wait for White House to Wake Up’
The regular Planning Commission meeting scheduled for Tuesday, December 19 has been canceled, according to a notification from the city of Santa Clarita today.
City Cancels Dec. 19 Planning Commission Meeting
The next meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is set for Tuesday, December 19, starting at 9:30 a.m.
Dec. 19: L.A. County Board of Supervisors Meeting
L.A. County's Bringing Our Loved Ones Home Task Force officials unveiled their final recommendations, endorsing a plan to use a voluntary system of trackable bracelets to find people prone to wandering, like those suffering from Alzheimer’s or autism.
County Task Force Calls for Tracking Bracelets to Locate Lost Individuals
The Community Development Commission of the county of Los Angeles looks back on 35 years of advancing its core program areas: affordable housing and housing, community and economic development.
County Community Development Commission Marks 35th Anniversary
Metro is seeking two new members to join the Measure M Independent Taxpayer Oversight Committee.
Metro Seeks 2 New Measure M Oversight Committee Members
The California Air Resources Board approved a $663 million low-carbon transportation plan Thursday to increase the use of clean cars, heavy-duty trucks, buses and freight equipment.
Air Resources Board OK’s $663 Million for Clean Vehicles
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station has released its public safety and crime information report for Saugus (Zone 4) for December 4-10, 2017.
Crime Blotter: Shoplifting, Petty Theft in Saugus
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has filed his strong opposition to the Trump Administration’s illegal attempt to suspend the 2015 Clean Water Rule for two years.
California AG, 10 Others Oppose Feds’ Suspension of Clean Water Rule
Conservation groups on Friday lobbied a federal judge for permission to join a fight between the federal government and a ranching association over a trio of California amphibian species.
Conservationists Lobby to Join Fray Over Frog Habitat
1987 - Incorporation: Santa Clarita officially becomes a city [story]
With an offense that challenged the program’s single-season goals record, The Master’s University women’s soccer team was almost almost never out of any game it played: The Mustangs were always within striking range.
Lady Mustangs Within Range of Directors’ Cup Top Spots
When Ed Jackiewicz met Tera Trujillo in spring 2015, she was studying at a desk she’d carried to the corner of the California State University, Northridge soccer field, in a “time out” of sorts, unable to practice because she’d just earned a D in an economics class.
CSUN’s “Under Armour Faculty” Promotes Academic Success in Student-Athletes
When Rafael Munoz recalls his time at the Layer 8 Computer Security Club at California State University, Northridge, he feels proud and thankful.
CSUN’s Tech Education Makes Top 10 List
The city of Santa Clarita Arts and Events division is currently seeking proposals for solo exhibits for 2018 in the gallery space at The MAIN, the City’s newest arts venue in Old Town Newhall.
City Seeking Artists for 2018 Solo Exhibits
NORTHRIDGE, Calif.---CSUN Men's Basketball returns to the road for the final time in the non-conference season this weekend.
CSUN to Face-Off Against Formal Rival Eastern Washington
Here is a list of Santa Clarita arts-related events for Friday:
Dec. 15: Santa Clarita Arts Calendar
This Friday and Saturday (Dec. 15-16), The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance brings their annual Winter Dance Concert to the REDCAT stage.
Dec. 15, 16: Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance Concert at REDCAT