Gas Prices

Friday, February 26, 2016 – 09:00 a.m.

The Golden State Gouge!

I had never heard the phrase until Friday morning. But it would appear to be appropriate.

Consumer Watchdog, the group that monitors oil companies doing business in California, has been all over gas price gouging.

It’s no secret that California driver’s, until recently, have been getting hammered at the pump.

Between the usual non-injury refinery explosion and the news that Exxon Mobil has been caught diverting a super-tanker full of gas from California to Florida in order to create a gas inventory shortage, it’s no surprise that there’s a new scheme in motion to drive up prices.

California, the state with the second-highest gas price in the nation, is about to resume its place as the highest.

This time it’s all about summer-blend gasoline.

But the difference this year is refiners, instead of levying the usual estimated 20-cents per gallon cost increase, intend to bring on a roughly 50-cent per gallon boost to retail prices.

That’s right five-zero cents per gallon.

On Thursday, retail gasoline prices were already climbing, with some name-brand outlets boosting prices by 10 to 15-cents per gallon overnight. After this weekend the increases should be fully priced in.

The price jump is following a 52-cent price increase in California wholesale prices that went into effect Wednesday night.

Consumer Watchdog estimates that it actually costs refiners 10-cents per gallon in increased costs to make the summer blend gasoline.

Not the 50-cents per gallon being floated by the oil industry.

Let’s not forget that we’re still waiting for the non-injury refinery explosion that would bring prices back to the $4 per gallon level.