Gas Prices

Monday, December 28, 2015 – 09:45 a.m.

Every knew they wouldn’t let it go on for too long.

“They” being oil companies. “It” being low gasoline prices.

It looks as if a new round of price gouging of Southern California motorists has started. This time it’s all under the guise of “unplanned refinery maintenance”.

Take a refinery, or two, or three, or four, off line for “unplanned maintenance” and presto there’s an artificially produced story that gasoline inventories are low and prices must therefore go up.

This time refiner Tesoro is the culprit. The refiner has taken four West Coast offline all at once.

It was only a matter of time before something like this happened. The only other move is to have the usual refinery explosion with no injuries. But that normally comes in the spring.

All the news outlets gobbled up the story like feeding Gerber to a baby.

Oil companies apparently need a little boost to their bottom line profits before year-end, and there’s no better way to do it than bilking the wallets of Californians.

The state’s driver’s were already paying some of the highest gas prices in the country. That was prior to this new gas price manipulation.

According to AAA, Southern California gas prices are $1 per gallon above national average.

Here’s the pre-holiday refinery production and inventory report for California showing inventories actually increasing prior to Christmas holiday:

California Energy Commission Weekly Fuels Watch Report

These numbers are based on reports from California refineries, and are subject to refinery revision and Energy Commission verification.

Charts of statewide and regional production and inventories, with five-year comparisons

California Weekly Refinery Production and Stocks Levels
(Thousands of Barrels)

One Year
Refinery Input
Crude Oil11346109353.8%12046-5.8%
Refinery Production
Motor Gasoline:
CARB RFG (incl. Non-Oxygenated)6998560724.8%67982.9%
Non-California Gasoline273773-64.7%804-66%
Total Gasoline7271638014%7602-4.4%
Jet Fuel: Kerosene203320260.3%2069-1.7%
CARB-Diesel (< 15ppm Sulfur)2037153332.9%181112.5%
Other Diesel Fuel*474648-26.9%846-44%
Total Distillates2511218115.1%2657-5.5%
Refinery Stocks
Crude Oil1504615434-2.5%1273318.2%
Motor Gasoline:
CARB RFG (incl. Non-Oxygenated)5549485614.3%5876-5.6%
Non-California Gasoline9371246-24.8%1276-26.6%
Total Gasoline648661026.3%7152-9.3%
Gasoline Blending Components54425969-8.8%6603-17.6%
Jet Fuel: Kerosene-Naphtha325830556.6%3430-5%
CARB-Diesel ( <15ppm Sulfur)2046183911.3%19425.4%
Other Diesel Fuel*9588976.8%1093-12.4%
Total Distillates300427369.8%3035-1%

*Other diesel fuel includes EPA diesel and high sulfur diesel.

Negative values indicate a transfer of finished production being used as an input to production for another finished product. This typically occurs with high sulfur diesel being converted to a lower sulfur fuel.

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