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Consumer Watchdog report shows oil companies price gouging in California

Some California oil refiners report profits from the first quarter of 2022 that are more than twice as high as those reported by the same refiners in other regions.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A new report came out on Wednesday by Consumer Watchdog that shows oil companies are price gouging Californians. 

The report claims several companies report profits in California that are more than double the profits the same company is making in other parts of the country. 

The President of Consumer Watchdog, Jamie Court, is pushing a bill that would require companies to disclose their profits to the public, so that Sacramento can do something about the price gouging. 

"California drivers are not just an ATM for the oil refiners, they're becoming a 401 (k),” Court said at a press conference Wednesday. 

He said the top five oil companies that account for 96% of production in California voluntarily disclose their monthly profits in other regions, but not California. 

“There's a reason for that," he said. "The oil refiners don't want us to know how much they're making because if we knew, we would take it back as an excess profits tax.”

The profits from the first quarter of 2022 are as much as five times more than in the first quarter of 2021.

The bill will be heard in the appropriations committee on Monday.

Credit: Consumer Watchdog

In another form of relief, the governor is set to unveil his revised budget this Friday, where we will see his updated gas tax rebate plan. 

For months now, politicians in Sacramento have been discussing another way to help Californians at the pump.

“The question is, how large should that rebate be?" Political Analyst Steve Swatt said. "And in what form and who should get it? And that is part of the debate? How much and which taxpayers? Should all the taxpayers get some money back?”

Six proposals from the Republicans and Democrats later, the governor is set to unveil his updated plan on Friday. 

Gov. Newsom originally said he wants to give up to $800 per registered vehicle owner, but on paper, the dollar amount and several other categories were left blank to leave room for negotiations with the legislature. 

"The negotiations certainly are between the democratic leaders and the Democratic governor," said Swatt. "But generally, the governor has the last word."

The legislature doesn’t pass its final budget until June, and then the governor has another few weeks after that to review it before he signs off on it. 

It will still be at least another few months before consumers get anything in their pockets. 

WATCH RELATED: US inflation slowed last month from 40-year high (May 2022)

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