Valley Drivers Ripped Off by Big Oil — Electric Costs to Rise

Former Modesto City Councilmember Bruce Frohman earned a reputation as a zealous defender of taxpayer dollars when he was in office. He’s still careful with his hard-earned dollars. Like many of us, he’s incensed that oil companies are making huge profits while many of us struggle with rising gas prices. ed

As I write this, I am away on business in Colorado. During my trip, I am noticing gasoline prices at every service station I drive past.

Starting in Modesto, where prices are as high as $5.90 per gallon, I noticed that average prices gradually dropped as I drove eastward.

Auburn had the same prices as Modesto. Reno was about 20 cents a gallon less despite having an extra 40 cent per gallon tax in Washoe County.

I paid $4.59 per gallon in Winnemucca, Nevada. Utah prices were about the same. In Evanston, Wyoming, Chevron was $4.40 per gallon. In Laramie, Wyoming, the price of top tier fuel was at $4.00.

Here in Northern Colorado, prices range from $3.80 to $4 per gallon for top tier gasoline.

With the price of gasoline $2 per gallon less in Colorado than California, why does the California State Legislature allow its citizens to get ripped off by big oil companies?

Chevron gas station McHenry Ave Modesto 5 May 22
McHenry Avenue, Modesto, 5 May 2022

I exchanged emails with Michele Janosek, a “Consumer Connection Center Specialist” with Chevron, the local gas seller with the highest prices in the Modesto Area. Ms. Janosek attributed the high prices to California’s special formulation designed to reduce air pollution.

Given the number of years that California refineries have been making the special formulation, the $2 per gallon price differential does not add up.

What is just as bad, my personal experience has found that the California formulation causes worse gas mileage by an average of three to five miles per gallon.  Poor mileage adds about another ten percent to the gasoline cost per mile to drive in the flat lands of the Central Valley.

Chevron Station McHenry Ave Modesto 5 May 2022
Modesto, May 5, 2022

Chevron’s Ms. Janosek concluded that she understands and sympathizes with my frustration. I concluded that the California legislature does not care about whether the citizens of this state are price gouged.  Given their lack of concern, we have another reason to vote in someone other than an incumbent next election.

The hope of using an electric vehicle (EV) to drive at a lower cost per mile than the gasoline powered car is eroding.  New electric car sellers like Tesla have raised prices to a level that more than offsets the high cost of gasoline.

Governor Newsom wants to keep Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power plant operating so the state does not run short of electricity. As the supply of electric power tightens, electric rates will go up, making the cost to charge EV batteries higher.

A significant increase in electric rates could make an EV as expensive to drive as a gasoline powered vehicle unless major investments are made in California’s electric grid infrastructure to avoid future shortage.

Frustrated? Indeed!


Bruce Frohman
Bruce Frohman
Bruce Frohman served on the Modesto City Council from 1999-2003. He believes the best way to build a better community is to have an informed citizenry.
Comments should be no more than 350 words. Comments may be edited for correctness, clarity, and civility.


  1. I agree that we are being ripped off by the big oil companies – but voting against all incumbents seems like a meat cleaver when a scalpel is called for. Vote against politicians who take money from the oil lobby and fight regulation. Vote for those who support sane regulations and environmentally sound policies.

    • Maybe a meat cleaver will result in greater accountability. Or, is the state government hopelessly corrupt? Clearly, we can be better represented. Unfortunately, the Republicans won’t be the ones to bring back good government either. Maybe we need a third party?

  2. We should all be adding solar power to our homes , and be able to charge our own EV cars , and running for office to boot the good old boys from corporate AG the hell out of the local electric corporation’s board rooms.
    Used Solar panels are down to $20 now.

    • Mr. Frohman voting for a republican replace is just what the conservative capitalist Oil companies want us to do.

      Put names to whom we should vote for and who to vote against

      • I wish I could make a recommendation. The two major parties control everything and are running the country into oblivion. Each successive administration does worse.

        Big Oil only favors candidates whose votes they can buy. There are plenty of Officeholders in both major parties beholden to Big oil. What is sad is how cheaply the politicians sell out the public.

        What is the point in reelecting an officeholder who just takes up space?

  3. Are we all aware of the gas tax increase very likely coming to gas stations near us, in July 2022? Brace yourselves and start tightening the budgets:

    As for the Chevron spokesperson, spoken of by Bruce, it is her job to feign that she is capable of feeling something akin to real interest in what is happening to us very very very very very dissatisfied pumpers. She would not hold the job she has if she did not know how to talk out of both sides of her mouth. Like she truly gives a rats tail about any thing going on, as long as she has her job. Exactly like the incumbent politicians who are not one bit worried that they may lose their seat at the table where lives are changed, for citizens, in the wink of an eye. There is no justice in politics. Those who are just, get out because they can’t wheel and deal with the sharks, it bothers their consciences to do so, or, they are pushed out by some slick seller of lies who won’t hesitate to put the screws to us all.

    I am with you, Bruce and fellow citizens,
    we have been screwed over one too many times. We ought not place our faith in any one. We must demand they answer to us. No more Mr., Mrs., Ms. nice guys.

    And as for Modesto Council member, now running for Stan. Co. Supervisor, again, you know who you are, I have watched and listened to you during televised Modesto City Counsel meetings. I like that you ask questions about certain issues, that is different, since I seldom hear anyone else at the table asking anything of any interest, but then you fold. You have potential, but you need to be coached and practice speaking firmer, louder, and with moxie. If you want the District seat show citizens that you are NO BODIES PUSH OVER. My advise to you

Comments are closed.