Gov. Newsom has called a special session of the Legislature on December 5 in order to propose a new tax on oil companies to raise the price of gasoline in California – again.
Californians already pay the highest gas taxes in the nation, in addition to many hidden costs thanks to regulations, restrictions and bans on the production of gasoline.
Ahead of the special legislative session next week, the California Energy Commission held a Kangaroo Court hearing Tuesday to discuss the “the high cost of gasoline in California.” The Energy Commission planned to take testimony and public comment about the high cost of gasoline in California, obviously setting the stage for a tax on oil companies that will end up costing drivers much more to fill up a tank of gas.
It was clear Gov. Gavin Newsom was hoping for a political show of the “Big Oil” Companies against the “altruistic” green State of California. But the governor did not get that – the oil companies did not show up.
Oil companies experienced record profits this year — while you paid record prices at the pump.
We asked them to explain why they are sticking you with the bill. They refused to show up. pic.twitter.com/E0ty5YS9B5
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) November 29, 2022
We are assuming that it was in anticipation of a Kangaroo Court complete with stunts, oil companies opted out of the hearing.
But with the maturity of a 7th grader, Gov. Newsom posted photos and videos of the oil company executives’ empty chairs, complete with expensive professionally engraved name plates at the designated oil company places, showing just how staged by the governor’s office this faux hearing was.
Viewers didn’t buy the governor’s Junior High School level charade: “How much money did you spend etching those nameplates?” a Twitter poster asked. “Couldn’t paper name markers have been just as effective? Who do you know that owns an etching business that you just spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on to etch a name plate for one meeting? You stink of corruption.”
It’s obvious that the energy commission and the Governor’s Office communicated clandestinely well ahead of the hearing to arrange this half-baked media video/photo op.
The energy commissioners made much too big of a deal out of the lack of participation by the oil company representatives, all using rather similar talking points obviously shared beforehand.
Despite the charade, and despite the governor hoping for a political show, there was a decent discussion of the actual issues according to Kevin Slagle of the Western States Petroleum Association. He noted that while people at the hearing might disagree on cause and effect, the issues come down to fewer oil refineries in California today than 30 years ago; growing state regulations on oil companies; and the Governor’s and Democrats’ vow to end fossil fuels in California. “We are going to tax and regulate you into no more fossil fuels in California,” Slagle told the Globe of the governor’s mission.
The California Energy Commission Commissioners were expected to consider and discuss conditions impacting recent trends and mitigation strategies to insulate consumers from price shocks as the state transitions away from fossil fuels.
Not addressed properly by the governor’s people is the impact on oil prices by the governor’s regulations, bans and mandates – and highest-in-the-nation gas/oil taxes by the state of California.
Western States Petroleum Association Executive Director Catherine Reheis-Boyd reported to the commission that the oil industry’s Earnings are Similar to Other S&P 500 sectors. “Earnings are generating attention largely because the price of crude oil was significantly higher the first three months of the year, as growth in demand for fuels and other petroleum products outpaced growth in supply,” she reported. “Natural gas and oil earnings can fluctuate more – because of lags in the sector’s ability to respond to rapid changes in demand.”
She also noted “earnings should be viewed in a larger context than a quarter at a time. Natural gas and oil company earnings per dollar of revenue (red bars) are in line with or below those of the S&P 500 as a whole.”
Reheis-Boyd reported, “more than 90% of the stocks of natural gas and oil companies are owned by institutions, investment advisors and retirement funds, including those of millions of Americans invested in 401Ks as well as private and public pension funds.”
But since the overall goal of the Governor is to drive the oil industry out of business in California, it can’t be ignored that it is Gov. Gavin Newsom’s and the Democrats’ policies that are driving up gas prices.
There are no “windfall profits” in California’s oil industry – only a short supply of the necessary oil and gas, which has not kept pace with California’s population doubling in 20 years.
Even Tesla founder Elon Musk knows 52% of his electric cars are plastic, which is a petroleum product. Even Elon Musk knows we need more oil and gas production, and hasn’t been shy about saying so. CNBC reported Musk saying, “Realistically I think we need to use oil and gas in the short term, because otherwise civilization will crumble.”
Following the CEC hearing, a source told the Globe: “So while California media outlets focused almost entirely on the oil company representatives not being at the energy commission hearing – without adequately describing their legitimate reasons for not attending, or noting that they sent detailed letters providing all the information the commission needs, or mentioning that their trade association WSPA sent a representative who fully explained the industry’s position on every single issue – the issue isn’t about the oil industry as much as it is about Gov. Newsom’s and the Democrats’ regulations, bans, mandates and policies which create market forces that impact the cost of oil and gas.”
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