Case Study: Fed Up at the Pump

Posted by Kassy Perry

California Independent Oil Marketers Association: Fed Up at the Pump

CIOMA is a nonprofit trade association that represents independent energy marketers and related retail operators including convenience store owners, independent wholesale and retail marketers of gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, lubricating oils and other petroleum and energy products.

CIOMA hired Perry Communications Group to help deflect negative attention and pressure brought on by a new state-mandated regulation that would result in a 15 to 76 cents per gallon increase in gas and diesel on January 1, 2015. The new fee, known as “Fuels under the cap,” is part of the Cap & Trade regulations portion of AB 32, the bill passed to reduce California’s greenhouse gas emissions. The fee was put in place by the California Air Resources Board, a non-elected bureaucracy, with no voter approval or public process.

The campaign aimed to put pressure on Gov. Jerry Brown, who was the only one that could halt the gas hike. In response, PCG launched the “Fed Up at the Pump” coalition bringing together businesses, consumers, advocates and legislators to educate and inform California motorists about the state-mandated gas and diesel price hike – that this price increase was brought on by the state and not the oil industry.

The campaign’s “calls to action” was a consumer letter asking the Governor to halt the gas tax immediately. Consumers sent the letter from the campaign website, or through a text message campaign that was advertised at independent service stations, through radio and online advertising, social networking and mobile apps. The goal was to reach millions of Californians to ask them to tell the Governor to “Back Off.”

The campaign launched on May 23, 2014, with a press conference at a Truck and Auto Plaza in California’s Central Valley, against the backdrop of a 45-foot semi-truck with bold, capital letters screaming “BACK OFF!”


  • Launched an interactive, consumer facing web site
  • Organized a press event incorporating key advocates including farm bureaus, trucking, construction and agricultural trades.
  • Engaged several state legislators representing those constituencies hardest hit by the tax hike
  • Placed an opinion editorial in the Sacramento Bee
  • Garnered the attention of and placement within seven media outlets including the Sacramento Business Journal, Sacramento Bee and Fox 40 News