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Legislation to be Introduced to Foster Competition in California Gasoline Market
(SACRAMENTO) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer today announced that three bills are being introduced in the California Legislature to address long-term and short-term gasoline supply issues. The bills are being introduced to meet the February 25 deadline set by the Legislature for new proposals.
Lockyer explained that the measures provide a starting point for recommendations still being developed through the Attorney General's Task Force on Gasoline Pricing. The task force was established after the Attorney General's preliminary report on gasoline pricing found the state's high prices resulting from the lack of competition in the California gasoline market. Among other things, the report noted that six major oil companies (pre-Mobil-Exxon merger) control over 92 percent of the market.
The measures being introduced are:
* A bill, by Assembly Member Carole Migden of San Francisco, which would require a feasibility study of building and financing a new pipeline from the Gulf Coast to increase available gasoline supplies to the state. The study would be done by the California Energy Commission. (AB 2098)
* A bill, by Assembly Member Kevin Shelley of San Francisco, which would establish a strategic gasoline reserve in California to avoid the kind of price spikes that resulted last year when refinery fires disrupted gasoline production. (AB 2076)
* A bill, by Senator Jackie Speier of Hillsborough, which seeks to inject competition into the state's gasoline refining and marketing industry by limiting the ability of oil companies to own and operate retail gasoline stations. (SB 1846)