March 30, 2019. Hartley LLP is pursuing price fixing claims against the largest gas refineries in California. The complaint contends Defendants conspired to manipulate the wholesale gasoline market in California, causing historically high wholesale prices in 2012 and 2015. Because of the unique environmental formulations required in California and its geographical location that limits easy delivery of gasoline from the east, among other reasons, the California gasoline market was ripe for price fixing by the refineries that supply it. In May and October 2012, prices spiked to historically high levels even as inventories of gasoline increased. The price of gasoline in California spiked three times in 2015 at much higher levels than the rest of the country, even as crude oil prices came down and other cost components were unchanged. The complaint alleges these price increases could only have been implemented and sustained through an agreement among the Defendants to do so.
The Defendants are BP, Chevron, Tesoro, Shell, ExxonMobil, Valero, Conoco and Alon. The case is pending in the Southern District of California.