Friday, July 01, 2016

California attorney general subpoenas oil refiners in gas-price probe

California drivers paid pump prices that have been as much as $1.50 higher than the rest of the nation since last summer.

So California state AG Harris has issued subpoenas to oil refiners as part of an investigation into unusually high gasoline prices in California during the last year.

During the Exxon Mobil Torrance outage in February 2015, California refiners reaped record net income, even as gasoline prices were falling elsewhere in the country. Beyond the Torrance outage, critics of the oil companies blamed manipulation of the gasoline market for exacerbating the price increase. 80 million gallons of gas was shipped to China in Sept 2015

Questions include why an Exxon Mobil ship was not used to deliver gasoline to California as inventories depleted as the Torrance refinery’s production level dropped below 20%.

The Torrance refinery can account for 10% of the state’s refined-gasoline capacity, and 20% of the capacity in Southern California, but rarely does, as the annual shut downs to switch from summer to winter blend and back (no idea why that is necessary when the weather doesn't change in So Cal) and when that isn't causing a shut down, the irregular explosions and break downs, and scheduled maintenance seen to take it down from optimum operation once or twice a year.


  1. Hey Jesse. Great post! I don't know if this is true or not but I had heard that the winter/summer blend fuel recipe was a state government requirement. Have you seen anything to support or debunk that?
    Keep up the great work!

    1. it is indeed a state or federal requirement, but the part that is nonsense is this shutting down to change the additives. They aren't flipping a switch to add a different chemical, which is all it ought to take, as you know the difference between 87, 89, and 91 octane is jsut a tiny bit more additive,... and winter blend? Has a tiny bit of a different additive so cars start easier in the cold. Well, we don't get cold in San Diego! But they shut down the refinery, create a fuel scarcity, and then claim it was to make some drastic difference in the gas. I call bullshit. Would you create a refinery that has to be taken to a cold stop twice a year, for decades, just to change the amount of an additive? Of course not. It's not like they switch from using crude oil to sheep fat! It's not as if they change from making gasoline 87, 89, and 91 octane to making kerosene and lighter fluid! They are making something 99.8 percent the same before and after. Thanks Mike!