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For immediate release: October 7, 2004
Contact: Rob Schlichting - 916-654-4989

M E D I A     A D V I S O R Y

Energy Commission workshop examines relationship of competition to high gasoline prices

Sacramento - California routinely has some of the highest gasoline prices in the country. For the week ending October 4, 2004, California prices were 26 cents above the national average. At the same time, refiner cost and profit margins in the State are among the highest in the U.S.

At this workshop, the California Energy Commission will ask industry and academic experts how market competition in all aspects of the petroleum industry - from refining gasoline, importing it from overseas, storing it, transporting it through pipelines, to selling it at the local retail station - can influence the price consumers pay at the pump.


Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Beginning at 9:30


California Energy Commission
1516 Ninth Street, Hearing Room A
Sacramento, California
(Wheelchair accessible)


In the morning workshop session, these petroleum experts are scheduled to make presentations on market power and competition:

Severin Borenstein - Haas School of Business, University of California Berkeley, and director of the U.C. Energy Institute

Philip Verleger - President of PKVerleger LLC and a Senior Advisor to The Brattle Group

Jeffrey Williams - Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California, Davis,

Joe Leto - Co-founder and President of Energy Analysts International, Inc. (EAI, Inc.)

Gregg Haggquist - international petroleum products trader, President of Monterey Global Energy

Tim Hamilton - internationally known petroleum industry consultant, publisher of Auto Bulletin

In an afternoon panel discussion, panel members will discuss such issues as:

  • Is there less competition in California's petroleum industry than in other regions in the U.S.?

  • How is California's petroleum market and supply system unique?

  • What leads to higher refiner cost and profit margins in California?

  • With California now importing more than 10 percent of its gasoline, is the market more vulnerable to new ways of exercising market power and controlling prices?

  • Are marina terminal facilities sufficient to handle the needed level of gasoline imports?

  • How does government regulation of pipelines and fuel storage facilities - at both the state and federal level - affect gasoline prices?

  • Most of California's gasoline is sold with brand names of major refiners— how does that compare to the rest of the country, and how does it affect retail prices?

Audio from this workshop will be broadcast over the Internet at:


Editor's note: The Energy Commission will be closed on Columbus Day, October 11, 2003, a State holiday.

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