Lawmaker proposes office to investigate possible gas-price fixing

Costco members fill up with discounted gasoline at a Costco gas station in Van Nuys last year.
(Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press)
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Think you are being ripped off at the gas pump?

One California lawmaker wants to give the public a place to contact with complaints of price manipulation or other shenanigans.

Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) has proposed creation of an Office of Fuel Price Investigation and Manipulation Prevention at the California Energy Commission.

Leno said the new office would develop anti-fuel price manipulation standards, investigate potential incidents of illegal activity and recommend ways to reduce the volatility of gas prices in California, which last year saw some stations charge $5 per gallon.


“For too long, Golden State drivers have been at the mercy of a few major oil companies that control the state’s transportation fuel market,” Leno said. “We clearly need a process by which we can protect consumers against fuel price volatility and investigate potential cases of price manipulation.”

Leno’s SB 448 has support from consumer and environmental groups including the Greenlining Institute, Consumer Federation, Consumer Action and the Environmental Defense Fund.

“If the state is serious about addressing climate change and reducing dependence on oil, it must make sure that companies can’t manipulate gas prices in order to undermine the long-term viability of common sense approaches,’’ said Tim O’Connor, director of the Environmental Defense Fund California Climate Initiative.


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