Apr 03, 2024

The Los Angeles Times editorial board must not read its own newspaper’s reporting.

In October 2022, a Times headline read: “California repeatedly warned about spiking gas prices, fragile supply. But fixes never came.”

The article cites “multiple reports and special committees” that have included information on how California’s high taxes, fees, and environmental mandates combine with a fundamental lack of production, refining, and retail capacities to drive gas prices higher in the Golden State.

Now, just 17 months later, the Times editorial board is rejecting that same information as “misdirection” and “propaganda” – preferring instead to provide its rapidly declining readership a serving of unsupported and unhelpful “Big Oil” scapegoating.

In a recent editorial that seemingly could have been written by Governor Newsom’s press office, the Times takes aim at an oil industry campaign providing an objective breakdown of fuel costs.

The campaign uses new government data to show how 20% of what Californians pay at the pump goes to taxes and fees – and just 1% goes to oil company profits.

It details how regulatory mandates and environmental programs directly add costs to each gallon of gas – and points to academic studies showing how California’s lack of competition among retail gas stations allows prices to climb even higher.

Despite being noted by many experts and economists for decades, these points are now considered toxic by the Times.

It has been over a year since Governor Newsom signed a law that he claimed would lower gas prices by ending unproven price gouging by oil companies. At the time, many experts said market manipulation was a figment of the governor’s imagination, and the true cost drivers lay with government policies.

As predicted, little has changed. But instead of holding Newsom and other Sacramento policymakers accountable for their energy policy failures, the Times is evidently choosing to provide the governor with more press release fodder that will do nothing to actually address the high fuel costs ravaging family budgets.

Where will the Golden State be in another year? So long as Newsom and the Times continue to ignore the true drivers of high gas prices and blindly scapegoat the 1% profit margin going to oil companies, Californians will continue to pay high prices at the pump.