In the Bay Area, gas prices have dropped under $2 a gallon–a low price not seen in years.
One gas station in San Jose sold regular unleaded for $1.99 a gallon, while other gas stations in Concord and Mill Valley also broke the $2 barrier, reports CBS San Francisco.
As of February 9, according to AAA, the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gas across the state fell to $2.49, down from $2.57 and $2.87 one month ago. Last year at this time the same gas was priced at $2.63.
According to consumerwatchdog.org, prices are comparatively lower now after California’s largest oil refiners artificially inflated gasoline prices during the first nine months of 2015. The watchdog group’s report to a state panel, “Against the Tide: How Missing Tankers Pumped Up Gas Prices and Refiner Profits,” states that when Exxon’s Torrance refinery lost 800 million gallons of gasoline, it imported only 12 million gallons of gasoline, thus keeping supply down and prices up. The report also alleges that Chevron increased exports to limit supplies.
Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog, stated, “Californians paid $10 billion more than US drivers at the pump in 2015 and the state’s oil refiners made record profits because Exxon and Chevron played hide and seek with our gasoline. It’s time that the state require real-time full disclosure of tankers’ movements, gasoline trades, and inventory levels.”
The report accused Exxon of letting its U.S.-flagged tanker, S/R American Progress, idle near Singapore for two months last summer, preventing it from delivering gasoline to California. The report quoted the industry news service Platts alleging that Exxon only imported product when contractual obligations had to be met.