Gas Price Fixing Lawsuit Returns for Another Shot at $5.52b

Glenn Swanson
by Glenn Swanson

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.

Glenn Swanson
Glenn Swanson

Glenn is a baby-boomer, born in 1954. Along with his wife, he makes his home in Connecticut. Employed in the public sector as an Information Tedchnology Specialist, Glenn has long been a car fan. Past rides have included heavy iron such as a 1967 GTO, to a V8 T-Bird. In between those high-horsepower cars, he's owned a pair of BMW 320i's. Now, with a daily commute of 40 miles, his concession to MPG dictates the ownership of a 2006 Honda Civic coupe which, while fun to drive, is a modest car for a pistonhead. As an avid reader, Glenn enjoys TTAC, along with many other auto-realated sites, and the occasional good book. As an avid electronic junkie, Glenn holds an Advanced Class amateur ("ham") radio license, and is into many things electronic. From a satellite radio and portable GPS unit in the cars, to a modest home theater system and radio-intercom in his home, if it's run by the movement of electrons, he's interested. :-)

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  • VLAD VLAD on Aug 22, 2007

    Land of fruits and nuts.

  • Kevin Kluttz Kevin Kluttz on Aug 23, 2007

    Am I the only one who believes the whole oil industry is fixed?? Bush and Cheney "secured" the oil fields, alright. To the satisfaction of the oil cronies they keep in their pockets. Tripled the price for 'em, didn't they!

  • Whuffo Whuffo on Aug 24, 2007

    Something is definitely wrong in the business. I just got back from a long driving trip - Boulder, CO to San Jose, CA. Across the wide open spaces of Colorado and Wyoming there were dozens of abandoned independent stations along the way. One was open in the middle of nowhere and I needed some gas - it was expensive, and the station looked like it was on its last legs. I wouldn't be surprised to find that this station will be gone in a few months - if they hold out that long. Somebody is making a lot of money - but it's not the gas station owners. I don't know about the true merits of their case, but I don't doubt that there's more than a little truth in their claims.