If you’re hoping for immediate relief at the pump, this legislation won’t bring it. What it *would* do is put restrictions on retailers for 60 days after the Governor declares an emergency. Under current law it’s only 30-days. It would also include oil companies who supply those retailers and expand “emergency” to include a supply interruption like a refinery shutdown. Democratic Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez:
“So we need to make sure that oil companies don’t do what Enron did to Calfornia, which is to artificially drive up the price of gasoline through market manipulation and price gouging.”
But Al Lundeen of the Western States Petroleum Association says that’s a faulty premise:
“There have been dozens of investigations by the state and federal governments over the past twenty years. Each of them has reached the same conclusion and that is the industry has not manipulated the market.”
Governor Schwarzenegger asked the California Energy Commission to study the market back in April. An interim analysis is due out this month.