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SF Chronicle: CA Lawmakers Pass Bill Aimed At Capping Oil Companies’ Profits

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

After decades of failed attempts to combat California’s highest-in-the-nation gas prices, legislators passed a measure Monday that could allow California to cap the windfall profits of oil companies.

The bill, which sailed through the state Assembly on a 52-19 vote, would give state energy regulators the authority to place a cap on oil refiners’ profits in California — and to set the amount. They would also have the authority to fine companies that exceed the cap and require them to disclose information about their operations and prices.

... That frustration was apparent on Monday, as Assembly Member Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, grilled the industry’s lobbyist and criticized its five largest refiners: Chevron, Marathon Petroleum Corp., PBF Energy, Valero Energy Corp. and Phillips 66.

“You have five companies controlling 90% of the market, the definition of an oligopoly,” Ting said. “Now you need a regulatory body to come in because they can set the price whatever they want.” ...