Valero Not Named in Letter Requesting Collusion Probe

Maintenance closures, operational issues and other interruptions in the supply of gas from west coast refineries have gas prices soaring in the west, one researcher charges.

Do local oil refineries play a major part in high west coast gasoline prices?

With gas prices at west coast pumps higher than those elsewhere in the country, some in the federal government are asking if recent refinery closures on the west coast are the result of a coordinated effort by the companies. One congressperson has called for an investigation into the charges, though the companies deny that such collusion exists. 

Valero, the San Antonio, Texas based refining company that owns the Benicia Valero Refinery is not one of the companies accused of collusion in a report by energy analyst McCullough Research of Portland, OR.

Gas prices are an average of $3.45 per gallon in Michigan, $3.35 in Florida, $3.35 in Texas, and $3.65 in New York City. In Benicia, gas prices are over $4 per gallon. 

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D.Wash, has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Shell, Tesoro, Conoco-Phillips, Alon, Chevron and BP for possible collusion into raising the price of gas, according to a story by McClatchy News Service. Refinery spokespeople say prices are the result of market demand, and not collusion. 

While Valero Refining wasn't named as one of the companies Cantwell wants investigated, Cantwell's charges still raise ire with Valero.

Chris Howe of the Benicia Valero refinery said, "I haven't read the McCullough Research report referred to in the McClatchy article, but I know that there have been many investigations into why prices in a particular area went up - some of them called for by Sen. Cantwell - and none has ever shown any kind of collusion or market manipulation. This one won't either, because there is no market manipulation, except by the politicians and regulators who have made it very expensive to manufacture fuel on the West Coast. When the investigation inevitably finds no wrongdoing, that finding won't get the same kind of media attention that calls for investigations always do. Keep in mind that this is an election year, and Sen. Cantwell is looking to get some publicity."

The Benicia Valero refinery went through a planned shutdown recently.  During the shutdown the refinery was able to finish a sulphur scrubber and other elements of the Valero Improvement Project which cost the company over $1 billion.

Dianne June 13, 2012 at 08:01 PM
Why are refinery planned shutdowns usually during heavy driving season (i.e., summer, holidays)? Is it to drive up prices even more?
JB Davis (Editor) June 13, 2012 at 11:31 PM
Actually, most of the major shutdowns happen in the late fall and winter. The last Valero shutdown happened during the winter. Refineries like to be up and running during the summer when demand is highest for gasoline. There might be unit shut downs in the summer, but they don't usually have a big affect on output and are normally short lived.
Riley Willerson June 14, 2012 at 03:17 PM
And please someone tell me why, gas is higher in Benicia than Texas? It really does not make a whole lot of sense. Can we pass a bill like Alaska, Benicia residentss/ solano county or better yet, all of the USA get a % each year of oil profits? I know it's just a pipe dream, but it's a great pipe dream. I'm just saying....
Robert Livesay June 14, 2012 at 03:47 PM
Why is gas higher in SF and lower in Oakdale. Operation cost
Robert Livesay June 14, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Riley gas tax in California is almost 29 cent a gallon higher in California than in Texas. 40 cents a gallon higher than in Alaska. Does that tell you something about this tax and spend Liberal state. With bad highways and park closures. These Liberals love to tax anyjhing that the residents of this state purchase. Just watch they will tax you on using your car to much. I love this state but it is politically out of balance. We need to drill for more oil in our oil rich parts of the state. Also off shore drilling.
JB Davis (Editor) June 14, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Riley, The Alaska Permanent Fund gets it's money from a share of the royalties on mineral extraction and investment returns. It isn't really tied to oil company profits. In 2006 California voters rejected the idea of an oil severance tax. Gasoline is more expensive here because of higher costs of production and high demand.
Robert Livesay June 14, 2012 at 06:14 PM
JB the California gas per gallon tax has more to do with the difference in price. It is all about taxes in California. What you say has very little to do with the difference in price per gallon. It could in some remote cases.
"The Black Panther of Poetry" June 14, 2012 at 07:44 PM
Don't tell me, let me guess. "And you too can see Russia from your house"!!
Robert Livesay June 14, 2012 at 07:59 PM
Bobby would you rather pay Texas gas per gallon tax or California? By the way Bobbie have you applied at Valero for a job. You know how Liberals say those filthy rich oil companies. Who knows you just might hit it right and get on. Did you apply for one of the Coda jobs?
"The Black Panther of Poetry" June 14, 2012 at 11:06 PM
No Robert, How might I go about applying for said jobs at Valero?
T. Gunter June 15, 2012 at 12:01 AM
Drilling is really the last thing we need. Regardless of taxes and oil supply, everyone in the US still pays less for gasoline than most places in the world.
Robert Livesay June 15, 2012 at 02:26 AM
Bobbie I am surprised at you. I do believe they have a HR dept. If I were you the first thing I would do is use your local connections. Then when you do apply they will know your name. The Mayor, Linda, Rev. Roger Straw and others that you know should be able to help you get by that first hurdle. Net working is how you will get as least an interview. I am very surprised that Linda has not been actively helping you. I would assume that the Rev. roger Straw could get on it right away. If these folks are not willing to help you Bobbie you may now know who your enemies are. Let me know after you contact them what help they may have offered. I sure hope Bobbiie these folks step up to the plate and are not as self centered as I think they are. Good Luck my man. I will be keeping a close look at this. I will also write a LTTE about how they helped or did not help you Bobbie. Please give me all the details on your contact with these folks. Time, date and of course their responce.
"The Black Panther of Poetry" June 15, 2012 at 02:35 AM
I know Robert, but when you are overwhelmed with life, jobs or the lack there of, and things and family. One tends to get a little lack luster at times. Thanks for caring (NOT)!!!
Riley Willerson June 15, 2012 at 03:20 AM
Robert you made sense to me, people complain about "not working" but many have chosen not too for a variety of excuses "pays to little" or "I am not working on weekends" or " shift work?" many of our youth and perhaps Bobby, have forgotten that you start at the bottom and work your way up, pay your dues . Seems many feel that they need to be making 40,000 per year to start , sorry folks it does not work like that. But then these are the same people who look in the mirror and say "wow i am 40 yrs old and I have yet to have a career" go figure. So all you healthy 20 plus year olds and the 30 something's and older, get out there and work even if it means flipping a burger or two. You have to make the effort and start somewhere. Time to grow up and start a work ethic.
Robert Livesay June 15, 2012 at 03:34 AM
Bobbie i care about people. Tell me how many resumes have you sent Out? How many calls have you made to folks you sent the resume too. How many companies have you just walked into and here is my resume I want a job.. I will do what is necessary. Bobbie are you going to follow up on my suggestion in my last post?: Or are you just going to complain. You Bobbie have got to make up your mind what is important to you and your family. Self respect, dignity and above all the personal responsibility to your family. They love you without a doubt. Now show them that Bobbie can do what is necessary to bring home the bacon. Bobbie no one said it is easy. You have faced bigger obsticles than this. This should be a cake walk. Go get them Bobbie. By the way, tell me the rsponces if any from these so called friends of yours. Lets hope they step up. Bobbie needs a job lets help him even if his poliical users will not.
Robert Livesay June 15, 2012 at 03:39 AM
Linda Seifert i call on you to give Bobbie a field job in your office. No car, so what he walk around just like he did in doo to door campaign. Even Rev. Roger Straw could help him out. Even drive him around. Linda think people and step up to the plate. Let tne voters know your true beliefs. Show them where your heart is. I will be watching this and believe me I will follow up. Do not try to pass this on to someone else. Just show the folks in Benicia that you are what you said you are. I will be waiting for Bobbie to contact me with info,.
Riley Willerson June 15, 2012 at 05:03 AM
Let's get real Robert, they are not going to find Bibby a job, you know it just as well, mocking him is not being supportive, just like George Miller says he is here for our Vetrens, but is he really, when you (I) write him you get a pat letter response... Bla bla bla with no answer to the questions of funding or what he will do for Benicia citizens.
David Johnston June 15, 2012 at 02:37 PM
Robert Livesay June 15, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Riley I never said they would find him a job. You now as well as I do any connection you can use could help. Remember Riley just suggestions for Bobbie. I am also not mocking him. I am supporting and hoping it will help him do the things that could help. The big issue in many cases is just keeping at it. Only he can answer that Riley. So lay off the negative comments about my concerns. I do care.
Riley Willerson June 15, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Fair enough, but I still believe there are jobs out there, but many choose not to work due to the reasons I mentioned,
Robert Livesay June 15, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Great link David. Take a look at it Bobbie. You see people do care.
Robert Livesay June 15, 2012 at 04:31 PM
Riley I would not disagree with you. But folks who have been out-of-work for a long time can get in a rut. Trying to help them get their confidence back could go a long ways toward their persuit of employment.
Riley Willerson June 15, 2012 at 04:42 PM
"The Black Panther of Poetry" June 17, 2012 at 07:19 PM
Thanks Benicians' !! I do look for work everyday(per my child support decree) and I do own a Landscaping business. HONEY BEE LANDSCAPING, advertised here on PATCH. I have a truck, tool and men... So call me. "Your honey do list is our honey bee list"
"The Black Panther of Poetry" June 17, 2012 at 10:06 PM
Thanks David...You the man and with people like you, we can make this society continue to be the beacon that it was meant to be. We really do have a manifest destination, I believe that, but it is inclusive.
Jason June 18, 2012 at 01:54 PM
Do you E-Verify, Bobby?
"The Black Panther of Poetry" June 18, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Not at this moment Jason


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