Newsom’s energy rules are driving gas prices up, hurting small businesses

As someone deeply committed to sustainability and fair business practices, my experience as a second-generation gas station owner has shown me the importance of finding a balance between environmental responsibility and economic viability. While I applaud efforts to protect consumers and the environment, recent decisions in Sacramento have unfortunately resulted in unintended consequences, particularly for small businesses like mine.

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s SBX1-2, aimed at curbing “price gouging,” has inadvertently led to higher gas prices by driving traders out of the market. This means less competition in the market and higher gas prices as a result. Moreover, new regulations from the California Energy Commission are adding further costs across the industry, which also filter down to the price at the pump. The reality is SBX1-2 has made it increasingly difficult to sustain our business while maintaining fair wages for our employees.

The cumulative impact of these regulatory burdens, coupled with rising energy, labor, and transportation costs, makes it difficult for gas station owners like me to thrive in California’s competitive market. Excessive bureaucracy not only drives up prices at the pump but also hampers our ability to invest in innovative technologies that could lead to a more sustainable future.

While I support California’s environmental initiatives, it’s crucial for policymakers to consider the unintended consequences of their actions. Rushing to implement new regulations without thorough evaluation can exacerbate the challenges faced by small businesses and hinder our collective progress towards a greener economy.

I urge policymakers to take a more measured approach, one that considers the needs of both businesses and the environment. By working together with industry stakeholders, we can develop sensible regulations that promote sustainability without unduly burdening small businesses. It’s time for policymakers to prioritize collaboration and thoughtful decision-making to ensure a prosperous and sustainable future for all Californians.

Taha Saleh is from Porterville. He operates T.A. Saleh Enterprises, Inc.