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Assembly Democrats introduce select committee to investigate gas price gouging. (Photo: screen capture Democrats' press conference)

CA Democrats Abandon Gas Tax Holiday; Announce New Committee to Investigate Gas Price Gouging

‘Californians don’t need another dead-end study, they need relief now’

By Katy Grimes, June 20, 2022 2:55 pm

“Friday marked 100 days of diddling by California’s supermajority party to provide relief at the pump for the state’s drivers from the record high gas prices,” the Globe reported Monday, ahead of the announcement by Assembly Democrats that rather than suspending California’s highest-in-the-nation gas taxes, they are going to “investigate” the state’s highest-in-the-nation gas prices. They are looking for a culprit.

Assemblyman James Gallagher (R-Yuba City) offered his retort with this: “Easy to read investigative report into how government is adding $1.30 to each gallon of gas in CA.”

CA Gas prices and taxes. (Photo: CA Energy Commission)

And that state excise tax is going up to 53.9 cents July 1st, because as we learned Monday from Assembly Democrats, it’s too late to suspend the July 1st gas tax increase. It had to have been done 60 days ago.

Why wasn’t the July 1st gas tax increase suspended 60 days ago? Inquiring minds want to know.

Rather than address immediate solutions, Assembly Democrats Monday announced the creation of a new select committee to investigate whether the state’s oil and gas “profiteers” are price gouging. This is pitiful given that going back to last year at this time, Democrats vowed to take action to help working and poor Californians struggling to pay for gas, but have done absolutely nothing except talk about it.

“It’s no secret Californians are enduring pain at the pump,” Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks) said. “California leaders must protect consumers from harm.”  Suspending the gas tax is a good place to start, but she offered no concrete solutions – just her feelings and concerns.

The Assembly Democrats’ press conference claiming “gas price gouging” was a lot of non-commitments among elected lawmakers – lots of “we feel your pain” moments. But hey Californians, we have a new select committee to investigate the state’s high gas prices – by going after big oil.

Lawmakers said they find the high gas prices “outrageous,” and “unacceptable,” and claimed “we are doing everything in our power to provide you relief.”

Apparently Assembly Democrats are powerless, because all they have done so far is clutch at their pearls and speak in dulcet tones of their empathy and concern as they are driven in a dark SUV to and from the airport. “We are all Democrats and on the same team,” said Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach). She said Democrats are committed to a decision and fix on gas price gouging.

And that’s about all that she said. There wasn’t much to her statements to justify the select committee.

With this new select committee, they can now order oil company executives to hearings and demand they open their books to show evidence of their “profiteering.”

This is what’s known as a diversion, an aberration, a deviation from the crux of the issue. (See graphic above)

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Los Angeles) talked of Californians “addiction of the gas-powered engine,” and said Chevron and Shell are “ripping off consumers.”

Republicans have consistently proposed a solution for relief at the pump – suspend the gas taxes. “The price of gas has been crushing family budgets for months,” Assemblyman Republican Leader Gallagher said in response to the Democrats’ press conference. “If Capitol Democrats were really doing everything in their power to lower gas prices, they would support our call to suspend the gas tax and halt the scheduled July 1st increase. Californians don’t need another dead-end study, they need relief now.”

“Senate Republicans have been calling for gas tax relief for a year, and keeping the pressure on is paying off. Consumers are fed-up, and Democrats are scrambling to compensate with a ‘Hail Mary’ pass on gas tax relief, said Senate Republican Leader Scott Wilk.”

Wilk provided some of the policies implemented in California that drive up the cost of gasoline:
  • 51.1 cents – State gas tax (add an additional 3 cents starting July 1.)
  • 25 cents – Cap and Trade (estimate)
  • 22 cents – Low Carbon Fuel Standard (estimate)
  • 2 cents – Underground Storage Fee
  • 10-15 cents – California’s switch to summer-blend costs more to produce than other types of gasoline. Source.
  • 14.4 cents – State sales tax (estimate based on 6/20 average price)

Sen. Wilk noted that some Assembly Democrats are also joining Republicans in calling for a pause in the scheduled July 1 gas tax increase. “These are the same Democrats who failed earlier this year to suspend this increase when presented the opportunity. Senate Republicans proposed this idea last year, again in January, May, and last week.”

Robert Herrell, Executive Director of the Consumer Federation of California. (Photo: screen capture Democrats’ press conf.)

A curious presence at the Democrats’ press conference was Robert Herrell, Executive Director of the Consumer Federation of California. He assured everyone that California gas taxes are much lower here in the state than other parts of the world (See what he did… very shifty). And then he said he is “unwilling to trade California’s cleaner form of gas,” (meaning no cutting July 1 gas tax increase on the summer blend), because it’s for the climate.

He did offer a very sound suggestion to cut the “mystery gas surcharge” of .30 cents which remains a tax on California gas, a holdover from the 2015 Torrence Refinery fire.

He added this zinger at the end: “The current budget proposal is much closer to the Consumer Federation of California position,” as a nod to no relief from California’s high gas taxes. As was announced last week, the California Legislature passed a sham $300 billion budget (just so they wouldn’t lose their pay), with no gas tax relief included in it. And this is even with a $95 billion budget surplus.

“Even Joe Biden now wants to suspend the gas tax. Newsom and the Legislature are officially out of excuses and need to enact my bill immediately,” Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R-Rocklin) Tweeted. In March Kiley introduced AB 1638 to suspend the 51 cent gas tax for six months. Democrats hijacked his bill, but he’s not giving up.

“Rather than launching a new ‘investigation,’ Governor Newsom and legislative leaders need to immediately suspend our state gas tax, which is almost 3 times higher than the federal tax.”

Kiley added: “A federal gas tax holiday would save drivers over 18 cents per gallon at the pump. If California suspended its gas tax as well, drivers would save an additional 51 cents for a total of nearly 70 cents per gallon in savings. The Penn Wharton Budget Model released last week shows “evidence that recent suspensions of state gasoline taxes in three states were mostly passed onto consumers.”

Last week Kiley Tweeted this prophetic statement: “Democrat Legislators have written a strongly worded letter demanding an investigation into the ‘real’ causes of high gas prices. This is not satire.”

Democrats are posturing and posing because they have no plan other than to attempt to look busy doing something. But even that is wearing very thin.


UPDATE: We received a correction request from Assemblywoman Petrie-Norris’ office claiming that we misquoted the Assemblywoman when we said, “And that’s all she said.” We replied that we were attempting, perhaps ineloquently, to say “And that’s about all that she said,” meaning there wasn’t much to her statements during the press conference to justify the select committee. That has now been included in the article. 

Her office also felt when we quoted Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris saying “We are all Democrats and on the same team,” that it was taken out of context.  

“Q: The Administration says that at this point it is too late to postpone the gas tax, its going into effect July 1 because CFA needing 60 days to implement that. Is there hope that okay if it does go into effect with at just one point stops or what was the idea their?

A: “I’ll make two points, so number one we have to believe maintaining the status quo is in fact possible. Whether that is the decision that is reached with leadership and the Governor – to be determined. And I’ll also just say that we are all Democrats, we are all on the same team. While their might be some disagreement about the how their certainly is no disagreement about the why and that is to ensure that we are doing everything we can in this moment of crisis and always to lift up Californian’s and keep Californian’s moving forward. So um we certainly are all laser focused on ensuring that we provide the most relief as quickly as possible.”

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20 thoughts on “CA Democrats Abandon Gas Tax Holiday; Announce New Committee to Investigate Gas Price Gouging

  1. They are busy….
    They spent the first hour in the assembly discussing LGTBQ+++++++++++++ issues, I think they may have added some new pluses????

    They even made a special proclamation to recognize the first (T) woman to win Jeopardy. I kid you not. The issues hurting every Californian including the LGTB community are being ignored and downplayed in Sacramento. So that is what you get with a progressive, democrat supermajority. They pander to special interests and literally pat each other on the back on who virtue signals the best! Meanwhile, farmers have no water and are literally burning their crops, selling off livestock. Meanwhile a hard working dad has to decide whether he can fill up his gas tank or bring home dinner tonight! But hey, lets all give a of round of applause for the new Jeopardy winner, they/them earned it after all!

    P.S. enjoy paying $9.00 a gallon at the pump!

  2. This is completely ridiculous and absurd and maddening. Where are the comedy troupes when you need them to do live theater skewering these people? Go on the road, we’re slap-happy and starved for a laugh out here! Oh wait —— never mind, neither of us can afford it. Jerks

    1. Ha,Ha, no need to travel, just head to the State Capitol in Sacramento. The main event is right there for all to see, a little mocking in the peanut gallery is all that is required.
      Then you have “Mayor” London Breed on CBS this morning displaying her lack or prowess and ability to lead. Mmmm, the “journalist” says, “Mayor describe San Francisco to me in your own words….”
      “It’s complicated’, she begins…….
      Yeah, how do you explain to a national audience that her public works and Justice department recommend that you leave your car unlocked and windows down so the thieves have easy access to rummage for change and other goodies. The public works say it will keep your windows from getting busted and save you a trip to the repairs shop but come on they are just tried of sweeping up the glass.
      Keep your eyes on the ground because you never know what you may step in and please do not make eye contact with the raving lunatics on each street corner, but if you do, please remember to use the proper pronoun when you tell them, ” no I do not have a joint, needle or pipe”! If only it were a comedy show but nope just another day in California, where good civil servants in blue uniforms get gunned down by the repeat offenders!

  3. Cali taxes or not…We shouldn’t be paying $2 + dollars above the rest of the country..I don’t get it, they’ve been talking about oil tax holiday for months, you would think Dems would want to lighten the load on the citizens of this state. How many years and at what expense will it take for a political committee to sort through the minefield of big oil. Investigative journalists should have jumped on California oil industry profiteering years ago.

  4. These people are just plain “evil”!!!!! Goes all the way to DC and the head Mob Boss in Charge of our lives!

  5. This new investigating into gouging should fall right on the laps of Government as their “tax/fees” is a portion of the reason, the other being Biden (and leftism activists).

    1. As you know, the Sacramento Playhouse production is all for show. They think they can do a “look over there” and get some political mileage out of attacking oil companies as gougers (when they are the real gougers), play to their base here and do their part to support the same Dem hogwash on the national level. This stage trick diverts from what would obviously and immediately help hurting Californians at the pump, suspending the gas taxes. Then Big Daddy Gavin steps forward and benevolently sends EVERYONE a piddly “rebate” check right before the November election. If he can work it, that is, which is apparently looking doubtful. Even though the check doesn’t really help it sends the message “remember, if I’M governor there will be more checks and free stuff.” This is really sick, demented stuff, don’t you think?

  6. To borrow from a great line in Casablanca:

    “I’m shocked, shocked, to find that high gas prices are going on in here.”

  7. Grumble. Grumble. It will never change unless we change it.
    Step 1; Institute fair and honest elections. This will hopefully eliminate the super majority.
    Step 2: Change the voting laws and eliminate ballot harvesting.
    Step 3: Eliminate computer voting.
    Intimidating job, but since when was the American spirit intimidated?
    Step Up. Join. Volunteer!
    Lecture over, class dismissed!

  8. Hey 805/Conejo Valley voters!!! PLEASE remember this USELESS POLITICAL PABLUM in November when you have a choice between Jacqui Irwin and Lori Mills and VOTE FOR LORI MILLS!!!

    ““It’s no secret Californians are enduring pain at the pump,” Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks) said. “California leaders must protect consumers from harm.” Suspending the gas tax is a good place to start, but she offered no concrete solutions – just her feelings and concerns.”

  9. Diffuse and confuse and point the finger at someone other than themselves. “Announce New Committee to Investigate Gas Price Gouging”

  10. Another California Democrat clown show.
    Are California voters really this dumb? Based on the last election, I would say “yes”.

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