A California Law Limiting Gas Price Gouging Is Popular With Democrats and Republicans
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California fired a shot against oil and gas companies with the passage of a law that caps the amount of profit those companies can make at the pump. Seven in 10 voters support the measure, according to a new Morning Consult survey, and at least 3 in 5 voters would back similar laws in their own states.
7 in 10 Voters Support Limits on Oil and Gas Company Profits at the Pump
Voters want gas price gouging laws similar to California’s in their own states
- Among all registered voters, 70% believe that there should be limits to the amount of profit oil and gas companies make at the pump, including 79% of Democrats and 63% of Republicans.
- Voters were most likely to back a requirement for oil companies to report financial information about their profit margins in their own states, with almost 7 in 10 saying they’d support that proposal. That measure was also most popular among Democrats (78%), independents (69%) and Republicans (61%).
- A third of voters believe that oil and gas companies will be less influential in 2050, although a nearly equal share said they think those companies will be as influential as they are now. Nearly 2 in 5 Democrats (38%) believe oil and gas companies will be less influential by that time period, while about 1 in 4 Republicans (26%) believe the same.
At Least 3 in 5 Voters Back State-Level Gas Profit Laws Similar to Those in California
California leads the charge against price gouging at the pump
Following a year of record profits for oil and gas companies around the world and ahead of what could be another summer of high gasoline prices, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) last month signed SBX1-2 into law, which aims to stop price gouging at the pump.
Among other things, the legislation sets a maximum gross gasoline refining margin and issues a penalty for any California-based refineries that surpass that margin.
Newsom’s office called the legislation "the strongest state-level oversight and accountability measures on Big Oil in the nation." The industry, however, contends that measures like SBX1-2 “do not increase supply or reduce prices, but instead can have the opposite effect — less investment, less gasoline supply, and ultimately higher costs for Californians.”
Perhaps the most crucial part of the bill is the fact that it requires oil companies to disclose their pricing information to the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission. The commission also creates a Division of Petroleum Market Oversight, tasked with the power to monitor and investigate the oil market and subpoena oil company executives.
The legislation is California’s latest shot at oil and gas companies. State regulators last year unanimously voted to phase out the sale of new gasoline-powered cars starting in 2035.
The survey was conducted March 31-April 2, 2023, among a representative sample of 1,959 registered voters, with an unweighted margin of error of +/-2 percentage points. Figures may not add up to 100% due to rounding.
Julia Martinez is an energy & auto analyst on the Industry Intelligence team, where she conducts research, authors analyst notes and advises leaders in the energy and auto industries on how to apply insights to make better business decisions. Before joining Morning Consult, Julia priced carbon offset credits, covered emerging cap-and-trade markets on the West Coast and reported on the oil and gas industry for trade publications in Houston, where she currently resides. She earned bachelor’s degrees in economics and digital journalism from Central Washington University. For speaking opportunities and booking requests, please email [email protected].