Walters is wrong on fuel price bill

Published: Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013 - 8:11 am

Re "Liberals want it both ways on oil" (Dan Walters, Nov. 3): Bee columnist Dan Walters has a myopic mischaracterization of Senate Bill 448, a recent fuel price transparency bill passed the California Legislature.

New evidence emerges almost monthly that shows more transparency is needed in fuel markets. Whether it is cases filed against oil traders by the U.S. government, or Gov. Jerry Brown writing that California needs a plan to respond to "untoward price fluctuations," it is almost universally accepted that more oversight is needed to protect consumers and understand causes of price volatility.

Proposed oil severance taxes, and whether they impact gas prices, is a fundamentally different issue than illegal price manipulation, which is why Walters' column carelessly combining the two is so misleading. In fact, a plain look at legislative analysis on SB448 shows that it would help answer the question of what causes gas price increases, and makes no assumptions that illegal gaming of wholesale and secondary oil markets is happening.

-- Tim O'Connor, San Francisco

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