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AG Bonta Warns California Refineries about Price Gouging

  • In a March 18 letter, California AG Rob Bonta warned refineries operating in the California market against using the recent disruptions in the global oil market as an opportunity to violate state antitrust laws and, in particular, manipulate markets in order to illegally inflate prices at the gas pump.
  • In the letter, AG Bonta noted that California has strong laws in place that prohibit deceptive pricing, price fixing, and other forms of anticompetitive behavior, and that during a time of market disruption, both industry and government share a responsibility to ensure that consumers are not taken advantage of.
  • AG Bonta also observed that his office has a track record of pursuing companies that attempted to use market disruptions for illegitimate gain, which includes a 2020 lawsuit against energy trading firms Vikol and SK Energy Americas alleging market manipulation following a market-disrupting explosion at a gasoline refinery in Torrance, California.