By Staff Writer
This week, in response to the sharp increases in oil prices, Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz introduced a package of legislation seeking to enforce against fuel price gouging and minimize the financial burden Angelenos are experiencing.
The motion requests the Chief Legislative Analyst, City Attorney, Office of Petroleum and Natural Gas, and Bureau of Contract Administrative to report to the Council on current petroleum supply chain challenges and the impacts of oil futures markets on supply, demand, and pricing of crude and refined oil; current protections afforded under California’s anti-price gouging statute and, any and all legal mechanism the City of Los Angeles has to conduct oversight and monitoring of gasoline prices and enforcements for anti-price gouging laws.
The three resolutions introduced support federal anti-price gouging legislation and add to the City’s 2021-22 Federal Legislative Program support for the COVID-19 Price Gouging Prevention Act (H.R. 675) which would make it unlawful to sell consumer goods or services at unconscionably excessive prices; the Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act (HR 7688) which would make it unlawful to increase gasoline and home energy fuel prices in an excessive manner; and the Transportation Fuel Market Transparency Act (S.4217), which provides for additional enforcement mechanism against fraud or manipulation that may be artificially inflating gas prices.
“Angelenos are paying record-high gas prices during a continued declaration of emergency and under intense inflationary pressures, forcing families to choose between filling up a gas tank or filling up a grocery bag. Meanwhile, companies and financial investors are raking in huge profits,” Koretz said. “We’re all acutely aware that the Russian invasion of Ukraine, global supply chain issues, and inflationary pressures are having an impact on prices at the pump. What is discussed less often is the ability of speculative activities to artificially increase prices. This activity and the volatility created in the oil and gas market goes beyond free-market competition. The law of supply and demand seems to have gone out the window.”
Koretz represents City Council District 5, which includes Century City and Westwood.
According to AAA, all 50 states had national retail prices of more than $4 per gallon as of this week but California leads the trend at an average of $6.06 per gallon with analysts predicting further upward trends in the coming months.