New statistics show oil refiners´ price markups jumped 152 percent in the first three months of this year. By March, they were more than double those in the rest of the nation.
The spike is partly because of a shift to ethanol-based gas, which boosted production costs by an estimated 6 cents per gallon.
Attorney General Bill Lockyer alleges much of the rest was profit. But he´s blaming market conditions, not illegal profiteering.
He says policymakers have done little to make the state less vulnerable to price surges. An industry spokeswoman blames a surge in oil prices driven by political unrest in Venezuela, Nigeria and Iraq, and an increase in demand for winter fuel oil in the East.