Gasoline Futures Slide Amid Refinery Restarts as Crude Declines

Gasoline fell to the lowest level in almost four weeks on speculation that refinery restarts will increase supplies and as crude weakened.

Futures sank as much as 1.8 percent as Valero Energy Corp. (VLO) started a fluid catalytic cracker at its Port Arthur, Texas, facility. Irving Oil Corp.’s New Brunswick, Canada, plant may bring up units as soon as this week after unplanned work. Crude oil dropped after Libya reopened a terminal closed by protests.

“The biggest impact has been the reopening of the Libya oil ports and resumption of exports,” said Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates LLC in Houston. “There’s some additional pressure on gasoline after the return to service of the Valero Port Arthur cat cracker, and the market is anticipating the return of some processing units at the oil refinery in Saint John.”

Gasoline for September delivery declined 5.08 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $2.9439 a gallon at 9:48 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange after touching $2.9403, the lowest intraday level since July 9. Trading volume was 12 percent above the 100-day average.

Gasoline’s crack spread versus West Texas Intermediate crude narrowed a fourth straight day, falling $1.14 to $17.70 a barrel, the lowest since July 2. Gasoline’s premium over Brent narrowed 95 cents to $15.88.

Pump prices, averaged nationwide, slipped 0.3 cent to $3.614 a gallon, Heathrow, Florida-based AAA said today on its website. Prices are 0.4 cent higher than a year ago.

Ultra-low-sulfur diesel for September delivery sank 4.41 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $3.0273 a gallon on trading volume that was 12 percent below the 100-day average.

ULSD’s crack spread versus West Texas Intermediate crude slipped 85 cents to $21.21 a barrel. The premium over Brent fell 68 cents to $19.37.

To contact the reporter on this story: Barbara Powell in Dallas at bpowell4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net

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