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By Diana Diamond

Stop gouging us, oil companies!

Uploaded: Mar 17, 2022

Since the 1970s, I have been suspicious of the constant escalating gas pump prices, especially the leaps we are now seeing because of the oil companies’ fears that some global event may dampen their available oil in the future. So, they simply are increasing their rates now, o to protect their prices and profits.

I think Americans have been duped for years by oil companies, as we have been forced to accept the hikes, while the legislators in this state – and in Congress – doth not protest. Nor do they seem to explore the rising gas prices issue.

Perhaps that’s because gas companies have been very generous to politicians and especially to candidates running for office. So far in 2022, Democrats received $3.0 million in funds from these companies, while Republicans were given $5.8 million.

Not surprisingly, more than two-thirds of their campaign gifts go to Republicans, although recently those companies have handed a bit more over to Democrats. In 2020, Trump received $6 million in donations; Biden got $3 million. The companies had their bases covered.

A recent analysis by Common Dreams, a nonprofit news investigatory group, shows that 25 of the world's biggest fossil fuel corporations collectively brought in an amazing $205 billion in profits last year—and Big Oil is exploiting Russia's war on Ukraine to charge even more at the pump in 2022 and advance its financial interests.

Last year's record profits came as average gas prices in the U.S. steadily increased, hitting around $3.40 per gallon in December 2021, up from $2.10 a year before. As consumer demand rose last year following a brief coronavirus-driven decline in 2020, shareholders pressured fossil fuel corporations to restrict supply to drive prices higher, according to several newspaper reports.

This year, as we painfully know, California is at the highest level ever – gas this week rose to $5.75 a gallon price in the Bay Area, with no drop in sight. Cost of gas has gone up 79 cents a gallon in two weeks.

I don’t think that the two-and-a-half-week-old Ukrainian War produced this soaring hike in prices, not did the pandemic alone. No, let’s just call this pure simple greed on the part of these energy companies, who convrniently seem to be working together.

My other concern is the “mystery charge” – a tax gas users have been paying since 2015. No one seems to know where it came from or why it’s there. That cost motorists about $4 billion the last five tears, Individual motorists paid about $500, according to the Mercury News.

The only hope is this week, State Sen. Ben Allen, a Santa Monica Democrat, introduced a bill that would require oil refiners to disclose the average amount they pay for crude oil and then what they sell it for – to better determine their profit margins. Somehow, since 2015, that mysterious charge is costing us 40 cents for each gallon we purchase, according to a UC-Berkeley economist, Severin Borenstein.

I am glad Allen is going after the energy companies It’s about time. Other legislators must support him because big oil companies are gouging us. Once Allen gets his information, I hope he and the full legislature will go after theses greedy gougers.

Because enough is enough.