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Los Angeles Gasoline Falls on Thin Trading, Alon Start

California-blend gasoline in Los Angeles weakened against futures for the first time in seven days on thin trading and after Alon USA Energy Inc. said the Bakersfield refinery will start this month.

The hydrocracker at the 70,000-barrel-a-day Bakersfield refinery, idled in December for work and then kept out of service due to poor refinery cracks, will start this month, Dallas-based Alon said in a statement late yesterday. The company said operations at the Paramount refinery in Long Beach resumed last month.

California-blend, or Carbob, gasoline in Los Angeles dropped 13 cents to 28 cents a gallon above futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 4:53 p.m. New York time, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The fuel’s premium rose yesterday to the highest level since Feb. 24 on speculation that maintenance was forcing refiners to buy fuel off the spot market.

Phillips 66, Tesoro Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc. are performing maintenance on units at their Northern California refineries.

San Francisco Carbob also dropped 13 cents to 38 cents above gasoline futures.

California-blend, or CARB, diesel in San Francisco slipped 0.5 cent to an 18-cent-a-gallon premium versus Nymex heating oil futures. The same fuel in Los Angeles also fell 0.5 cent to a 9.25-cent premium.

Conventional, 87-octane gasoline in Portland, Oregon, rose 3 cents to 36 cents above gasoline futures. Low-sulfur diesel there strengthened 4 cents to a premium of 29 cents a gallon above heating oil futures.

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