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Was the Exxon Mobil refinery failure a put-on to drive up prices?

ABC 7 NEWS is reporting that the alleged power failure that supposedly incapacitated Exxon/Mobil's mighty Torrance refinery may never have happened.

Need we say more?

UCAN calls for Attorney General investigation of wholesale gasoline market failure

Late yesterday, UCAN, the Utility Consumers' Action Network, called on
California Attorney General Kamala Harris to investigate  the California
refineries that are responsible for the fuel shortages that have pushed
California's gasoline prices  to the highest level ever seen in U.S. history

The letter pinpoints eight areas that merit scrutiny by the Attorney General,
lawmakers, and regulators:

1)  Intentional under-production of fuel to restrict supply

2)  Overseas exports of gasoline - dumping fuel to restrict supply

Gas prices break another record

Gas prices have climbed almost 60¢ in San Diego since Monday, and 40¢ since Thursday afternoon to a new all-time record high of $4.72 a gallon in San Diego. Governor Brown has ordered CARB, the California Air Resources Board to allow refineries to sell their inventories of winter blend gasoline, claiming that it will improve reserves of gasoline by as much as 10% and alleviate the alleged shortage of fuel in California (see LETTER to CARB here).

Gas prices break all-time record high of $4.64 a gallon

 

Gasoline super-spike in progress: Wholesale price for gasoline up 75¢ in four days

This price surge could make Blue voters see Red in California

In San Diego, gasoline prices have jumped 17¢ in four days to an average
price of $4.34 a gallon for regular unleaded, and they could climb another
40¢ by Monday, breaking San Diego's all-time record high.

Meanwhile, the cost of crude oil has stayed flat. Domestic crude prices have
actually dropped by slightly since Monday.

There are excuses for what's happening now, but few good reasons.

Exxon refinery shutdown causing huge gasoline price spike in California and San Diego

Wholesale prices to unbranded independent gas stations have surged by 26¢ a gallon since last Thursday on news of a shutdown at Exxon's Torrance refinery (see news report).

Gas prices may have peaked, with a supersike averted.

When Chevron's Richmond refinery caught fire at 6:45 PM, August 7, the flames and smoke spewed 4,000 feet into the air and sent hundreds of nearby residents to local hospitals with breathing disorders.  The price of surplus gasoline in California immediately skyrocketed, sparking fears of a "superspike" in retail gas prices.

What we saw was the beginning of a superspike. In the following eight days, gas prices screamed upward in San Diego at an average daily rate of 2.7¢ per day, moving from $3.86 a gallon on August 7, to the current average of $4.10 a gallon today.

Gas prices will break $4 mark today ...

Yesterday we predicted that gas prices would breach the $4 mark by Monday. At this hour (7AM, Friday, August 10, 2012) prices have already climbed to $3.99 for regular unleaded, up from $3.94 yesterday. Diesel has climbed 6¢ overnight to $4.14 a gallon on average.

Chevron refinery fire will likely push prices past $4 per gallon mark by Monday

The recent fire at Chevron's massive Richmond California refinery is having a dramatic impact on San Diego gas prices. The refinery produces roughly 13.5% of California's gasoline and diesel fuel and prices have risen at retail by 7¢ a gallon since news of the explosion on Tuesday. 

Our analysis of wholesale prices charged to independently owned gas stations shows that most dealers can't buy gas and break even for less than $4 a gallon. At the time of this writing, gasoline averages $3.94 a gallon in San Diego, with prices climbing.

BOXERS OR BRIEFS? "Neither" says the trader, "I just lost my shorts."

Not only are traders losing their shorts, but local gas prices have plunged lower than the necklines at the Academy awards, dropping 7¢ a gallon since Thursday. In fact, with the exception of natural gas, the entire global petroleum complex is swan-diving toward lows not seen since June of 2010.

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