[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
2009 - Two killed in crash of experimental plane in Sand Canyon [video]
The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce is holding a Business After Hours Mixer at Valencia Acura, Wednesday, July 18, at 5:30 p.m.
July 18: SCV Chamber’s Business After Hours Mixer
Supervisor Kathryn Barger cast the lone vote opposing a motion to place a measure on the November ballot which seeks to increase property taxes on residential and commercial properties to generate approximately $300 million a year to fund additional stormwater projects.
Barger Lone Vote on Proposed Stormwater Tax
The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to move forward with a comprehensive plan to increase local water supply and improve water quality.
Supes Move Forward with Efforts to Improve Local Water Supply, Quality
The county of Los Angeles and community partners are working hand-in-hand to combat homelessness, which has decreased for the first time in four years.
County Combines New, Existing Programs to Combat Homelessness
Officials at the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner have identified the body of a man who was found in a Canyon Country field Monday night.
Man Found Dead in Canyon Country
Single Mother's Outreach is currently accepting honoree nominations and artist applications through July 30.
Single Mother’s Outreach Accepting Nominees, Artist Applications
The Stay Green Inc. team has been rewarded for its excellence with eight awards — including four prestigious first-place honors — in the 59th Annual Landscape Beautification Awards presented by the San Fernando Valley Chapter of the California Landscape Contractors Association (CLCA).
Stay Green Earns Four First-Place Landscape Honors
Here is the list of Santa Clarita arts-related events for July 18-20:
July 18-20: Santa Clarita Arts Calendar
The city of Santa Clarita saw an increase in on-location filming in Fiscal Year 2017-2018 (July 2017 to June 2018), with the Film Office recording 560 film permits and 1377 film days, which generated an estimated $33.1 million in economic impact to the local community.
Santa Clarita Sees Increase in On-Location Filming for 5th Straight Year
Six Santa Clarita Artists Association members were accepted in the impressive La Galeria Gitana exhibit, "Around the World in 80 Paintings."
Aug. 11: Artists Association Presents, ‘Around the World in 80 Paintings’
LOS ANGELES – A former staffer for a member of the United States Congress was sentenced today to 18 months in prison for bribery and attempted extortion after demanding and accepting $5,000 to prevent the closure of a marijuana shop in the city of Compton.
Santa Clarita Man Gets 18 Months in Prison for Bribery, Attempted Extortion
1834 - Sinforosa, daughter of Narciso and Crisanta, born at Mission San Fernando; mom from Tejon, dad from Piru; believed to be last speaker of Tataviam language (died 1915) [record]
Berry Petroleum Corp., owner of the Placerita oil field west of Sierra Highway between Placerita Canyon Road and Golden Valley Road in Santa Clarita - and many other oil properties in the San Joaquin Valley - announced Monday that it has launched an initial public offering of its common stock.
Placerita Oil Field Owner Going Public Again
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is alerting health care professionals and patients of a voluntary recall of several drug products containing the active ingredient Valsartan, used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure.
Blood Pressure Medicine Valsartan Recalled for Cancer-Causing Impurity
The next regular meeting of the Governing Board of the William S. Hart Union High School District is Wednesday, July 18 at the Administrative Center, 21380 Centre Pointe Parkway, Santa Clarita 91350.
July 18: Hart District Governing Board Regular Meeting
The Canyon Country Advisory Committee, a division of the Santa Clarita City Council, will hold its next meeting on Wednesday, July 18, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
July 18: Canyon Country Advisory Committee Meeting
Since April, TMU grad Zach Klindworth has worked and trained with a soccer team in Iceland, 4,000 miles from Santa Clarita, the only city he'd ever known.
TMU Soccer Alum Zach Klindworth Takes Talents to Iceland
The Lancaster JetHawks scored a run in the seventh inning to take the lead and hung on to beat Lake Elsinore, 3-2, Sunday evening at The Hangar.
JetHawks Hang on for Sunday Win Over Storm
Lake Elsinore proved too much for the JetHawks Saturday night, handing Lancaster an 11-4 loss at The Hangar.
Lancaster JetHawks Overcome by Storm Saturday
The Lancaster JetHawks opened up a four-game series with a 6-2 win over the Lake Elsinore Storm in front of 4,348 at The Hangar Friday night to kick off Star Wars Weekend.
The Force With JetHawks in Friday Win Over Storm
Saxtravaganza, Santa Clarita's all-saxophone chamber ensemble, will play a free concert at Hart Hall (inside Hart Park) on Thursday, July 19, starting at 7 p.m.
July 19: Saxtravaganza Chamber Ensemble Returns to Hart Hall
Members of the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley will participate in the semi-annual Pinewood Derby at the Newhall Clubhouse on Wednesday, July 18 starting at 4:30 p.m.
July 18: SCV Boys & Girls Club Pinewood Derby
The city of Santa Clarita's Community Preservation Division sent a notice of violation Monday to the owners of the Canyon View Mobile Home Estates property in Canyon Country, ordering the removal of multiple solar panels installed on the hillside just north of the park.
Canyon Country Mobile Home Park Cited for Hillside Solar Panels
Ingrid Moon, a sixth-grade science facilitator at tuition-free public charter school iLEAD Encino, and Kimberli Lengning, a facilitator at iLEAD Lancaster, have been named Distinguished STEM Educators by Columbia University.
iLEAD Science Facilitators Named Distinguished STEM Educators
The city of Santa Clarita has updated the list of productions shooting in the city and the Santa Clarita Valley the week of July 16-22, 2018.
‘Mayans,’ ‘Santa Clarita Diet,’ Spots, Student Films Now Shooting in SCV
The Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District confirmed West Nile virus in a sample of mosquitoes collected from Panorama City (zip code 91402), the first confirmation of WNV activity in the district’s service area this year.
First West Nile Positive Mosquitoes Found – Panorama City
Air quality is very unhealthy for all residents of the Santa Clarita Valley Monday, according to an alert from the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
AQMD: Air Quality Very Unhealthy Monday for SCV Residents
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies arrested a man with an outstanding warrant who was allegedly also in possession of drugs in Stevenson Ranch early Saturday morning.
Golden Valley High School grad U.S. Air Force Airman Victoria A. Arguello has graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas.
Santa Clarita USAF Airman Victoria Arguello Completes Basic Training
1925 - Actor Harry Carey files patent on the original 160-acre Saugus homestead he'd purchased in 1916 (now Tesoro Del Valle) [story]
1891 - R.E. Nickel publishes area's first newspaper, The Acton Rooster [story]
Stay out of the water at Pyramid Lake in Los Angeles County until further notice and avoid eating fish from the lake due to the presence of blue-green algae.
Algae in Pyramid Lake at ‘Danger’ Level – Keep Out
1769 - Portolá party sets out from San Diego; first Europeans to "discover" Santa Clarita Valley 3½ weeks later [story]
The CTG Stars teenage summer workshop production of "Shrek: The Musical, Jr." takes the stage at the Canyon Theatre Guild in Old Town Newhall for two final performances on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.
July 14-15: CTG Stars Teen Workshop Stages ‘Shrek: The Musical Jr.’
The William S. Hart Museum will host an open house and summer fun event for kids on Thursday, July 19 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
July 19: Open House, Summer Fun Event for Kids at Hart Museum