Gas Price Fixing Lawsuit Returns for Another Shot at $5.52b
Some two dozen California gas station owners have filed suit in U.S District Court, accusing Shell Oil Co., Chevron Corp. and Saudi Refining Inc. of fixing prices. The lawsuit claims executives from the three oil companies formed two [now defunct] joint ventures– Equilon in the west, Motiva in the east– for the express purpose of stiffing stations. Lawyer Joseph M. Alioto contends that from 1999 to 2001 the companies artificially inflated wholesale gas prices by “at least” 20 cents a gallon and possibly as much as 40 cents per gallon. Quoted in The Olympian, Chevron mouthpiece Stephanie Price said been there, done that, watched it get thrown out of court. In 2004, the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed a virtually identical case brought by a different group of station owners. If you’re wondering why Alioto’s mob is having another go from a slightly different angle, the brief wants the oil companies to pay 23k franchisees $240k. Each.