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California governor seeks explanation for high gas prices

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California’s governor wants to know why gas prices are higher than in the rest of the country, blaming potential “inappropriate industry practices” rather than the state’s higher taxes and tougher environmental regulations.

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom asked the California Energy Commission for an analysis of the state’s gas prices by May 15. California drivers were paying an average of $4.03 per gallon Tuesday, or $1.18 more than the national average, according to AAA.

The same differential can be seen with diesel prices. On Monday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s weekly roundup of fuel prices showed the price of diesel in California to be about 86 cents more expensive than the national average.

Higher taxes, along with a combination of tougher gas standards and environmental regulations, normally account for about 70 cents of that difference, said Gordon Schremp, a senior fuels specialist with the California Energy Commission. But the rest is a mystery.

In 2017, the state’s Petroleum Market Advisory Committee found that California has had “a continuous and significant unexplained differential compared to the rest of the country” since February 2015. That difference has cost Californians more than $17 billion, said Severin Borenstein, faculty director at the Energy Institute at the University of California, Berkeley’s business school.

In a letter to energy commission chairman David Hochschild, Newsom defended the state’s environmental standards, accusing critics of using the high prices to “undermine our clean air and safety standards.”

“Independent analysis suggests that an unaccounted-for price differential exists in California’s gas prices and that this price differential may stem in part from inappropriate industry practices,” Newsom wrote.

The commission agreed to do the price analysis but declined further comment.

Western States Petroleum Association President Catherine Reheis-Boyd noted that California’s gas prices have been scrutinized in dozens of government inquiries, “all of which concluded the dynamics of supply and demand are responsible for movements in the price of gasoline and diesel fuel.”

Spiking gas prices have caused headaches for California policymakers since the Legislature approved a 12-cent gas tax increase in 2016.

Last year, voters recalled a Democratic state senator who voted for the increase and replaced him with a Republican. But a statewide ballot initiative to repeal the higher tax failed with more than 56 percent of the vote.

As gas and diesel prices kept climbing, 19 state lawmakers in January asked Attorney General Xavier Becerra to investigate the “unexplained surcharge.”

“This mystery surcharge happens between the refinery and retail purchase by the consumer,” Democratic Assemblyman Marc Levine said. “This is a punitive, abusive practice that Californians are paying.”

But it’s unclear if Becerra’s office took any action. Representatives from his office on Tuesday would not confirm or deny an investigation.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Albert John

    April 29, 2019 at 10:05 am

    Perhaps it has something to do with the formula that the refineries have to adhere to to make compliant fuels for California air resource board. And combine your state’s exclusive fuel and sales taxes and they’re you have it

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Business

Women In Trucking names its 2019 top woman-owned businesses

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Angela Eliacostas is the founder and owner of AGT Global Logistics, one of the companies the Women In Trucking Association has named its 2019 Top Women-Owned Businesses in Transportation. (Courtesy: Women in Trucking)

PLOVER, Wisc. —  The Women In Trucking Association (WIT) has announced its annual list of the “Top Woman-Owned Businesses in Transportation.”

The names of the companies being recognized in 2019 were released in the latest edition of Redefining the Road, the official magazine of WIT.

WIT created the list was created to recognize women in leadership and encourage more women to become proactive leaders in their organizations and even start their own businesses, WIT president and CEO Ellen Voie said. The program supports WIT’s overall mission “To encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments, and minimize the obstacles they face.”

Entrepreneurship is a viable means of economic self-sufficiency, and many women are choosing an enterprise connected to transportation to be part of their career aspirations, according to Brian Everett, publisher of Redefining the Road.

Companies considered for the recognition must meet criteria that includes majority ownership by a woman, financial stability and growth, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. Each company was nominated and chosen based upon business success and accomplishments, including those related to gender diversity.

This year’s list includes companies from a diverse range of business sectors in the commercial freight transportation marketplace, including motor carriers, third-party logistics companies and original equipment manufacturers.

Companies named to the 2019 “Top Woman-Owned Businesses” list and their primary female business owners are:

  • Bennett International Group; Marcia G. Taylor, CEO
  • Kenco Logistics; Jane Kennedy Greene, chairwoman
  • London Auto Truck Center; Donna Childers, vice president
  • Rihm Family Companies; Kari Rihm, president and CEO
  • Veriha Trucking, Inc.; Karen Smerchek, president
  • Rush Trucking Corp.; Andra Rush, CEO
  • Aria Logistics; Arelis Gutierrez, CEO
  • Lodgewood Enterprises; Arlene Gagne, president
  • S-2international, LLC; Jennifer Mead, CEO
  • International Express Trucking; Karen Duff, president and CEO
  • Brenny Transportation, Inc.; Joyce Brenny, CEO and founder
  • Knichel Logistics; Kristy Knichel, CEO
  • Garner Trucking; Sherri Garner Brumbaugh, CEO
  • LYNC Logistics; Cindy Lee, president
  • Ontario Truck Training Academy; Yvette Lagrois, president
  • AGT Global Logistics; Angela Eliacostas, owner and founder
  • Powersource Transportation; (Barb Bakos, president
  • LaunchIt Public Relations; Susan Fall, president
  • United Federal Logistics, Inc.; Jennifer Behnke, president
  • BCP Transportation; Nancy Spelsberg, Ardis Jourdan, Kristie Rozinski
  • Ladybird Logistics Ltd.; Felicia Payin Marfo, managing director
  • DGT Trucking; Donna G. Sleasman, owner
  • RFX Inc.; Kimberly Welby, president and CEO)

These companies will be recognized during a special program at the Women In Trucking Accelerate! Conference & Expo, Sept. 30 – Oct. 2 in Dallas. For more information, visit WomenInTrucking.org.

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Can you say oversized load!

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That is big!

 

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Diesel prices all but stagnant nationwide, less than 2-cent shift anywhere

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The average price for a gallon of diesel nationwide fell by 0.7 cents for the week ending July 22, to currently stand at $3.044 per gallon, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The lack of movement in diesel prices continues a pattern that has been going on for the past month. On June 24, diesel was at 3.042, with changes of less than 1.5 cents every week in between.

Though tiny, the movement in diesel prices was nearly unanimous this past week, down in all but one region of the country.  That one exception was the Rocky Mountain region, where diesel rose 0.3 cents, to $2.978. Year-to-date, diesel prices are lower in every region, with the Rocky Mountain region again being the standout, having the greatest difference, 39.1 cents from this time last year.

California made it a clean sweep for lower diesel prices year-to-date with a drop of 1.3 cents this past week, to $3.939, still by far the highest in the country, but 0.4 cents below this time last year.

Along the rest of the West Coast, diesel dropped 1.1 cents to $3.198, bringing the overall West Coast average to $3.611 per gallon.

The average along the East Coast is currently $3.072, with prices highest in the Central Atlantic, where diesel is going for $3.259 after a 1.3-cent drop. Diesel is $3.122 in New England following a decrease of 0.9 cents over the past week, while in the Lower Atlantic region diesel slipped by 0.4 cents to stand at $2.937 per gallon.

That’s still slightly better than the Midwest, where diesel is going for $2.948 per gallon after a drop of 0.8 cents. Meanwhile, the Gulf Coast, the low-price leader in diesel, fell by the same 0.1 cent it gained the week before to stand at $2.804.

On Monday, increasing tensions between Iran and Western countries failed to produce a sharp reaction in the crude oil markets. Brent crude, the global benchmark, rose 98 cents, or 1.57%, to settle at $63.45 a barrel. U.S.-based West Texas Intermediate crude rose 59 cents, or 1.06%, to settle at $56.22 a barrel.

Click here for a complete list of average prices by region for the past three weeks.

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