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Press Release
Aug 15, 2006 - 05:00 PM


CONTACT: Jamie Court, 310-392-0522 ext 327

CA Report Shows Gas Prices Driven By Unplanned Outages;

Consumer Group Declares A Repeat of Energy Crisis & Says Schwarzenegger Should Not Be Soft On Refiners
Santa Monica, CA -- Governor Schwarzenegger's California Energy Commission today found that gasoline refineries experienced about three times as many unplanned outages in the first six months of 2006 than in the same period during 2005 (175 vs. 58) and this drove the high price of gasoline in the state.

The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights criticized Governor Schwarzenegger for not making strong recommendations based on the Commission's findings that abnormally low gasoline production was the cause of the gas price spikes this Spring.

"Oil companies are ripping off Californians in exactly the same way electricity profiteers did by artificially shorting the market," said FTCR president Jamie Court. "Governor Schwarzenegger's only plan seems to be to invite the oil companies to fundraisers. This governor needs to give back the more than $3 million he has received in contributions from the oil and energy sector and confront the fact that oil refiners are artificially shorting the market to drive up prices. Rome's burning and Schwarzenegger's in the smoking tent with Nero."

FTCR criticized the findings of the report ( http://www.energy.ca.gov/consumerfuels/index.html ) as a "white wash" even while the data shows oil companies made huge profits by intentionally making too little gasoline. The consumer group asked Schwarzenegger to return contributions he received from California oil refiners.

Chevron Texaco, one of California's big refiners, is among one of Schwarzenegger's leading donors with $516,800 contributed to his committees. Chevron's former lobbyist was Schwarzenegger's former chief of staff.

"How do you justify running the most modern refiners in the US at the lowest rate of production in the country unless it is to create the highest price in the country?" asked FTCR petroleum analyst Tim Hamilton.

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