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Gulf Coast Gasoline Drops to Pre-Isaac Level as Plants Restart

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Aug. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Gulf Coast gasoline dropped to the lowest level since Hurricane Isaac approached the region as a tropical storm as refiners restarted operations.

As of 1 p.m. local time, Tropical Storm Isaac was 25 miles (40 kilometers) southwest of Monroe, Louisiana, with top sustained winds of 40 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service. It was moving north-northwest at 9 mph. Isaac made landfall as a hurricane on Aug. 28,

Placid Refining Co. LLC started its Port Allen, Louisiana, refinery early today, according to an e-mailed statement from the company.

The premium for conventional, 87-octane gasoline in the Gulf Coast fell 4 cents to 11.75 cents a gallon versus futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 2:00 p.m. It’s the lowest level since Aug. 23. Prompt delivery slipped 4.79 cents to $3.0264 a gallon.

Five refineries remained shut in the Gulf and another five were running at reduced rates, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Valero Energy Corp. planned to have employees return to its Meraux and St. Charles refineries today, Bill Day, a spokesman at company headquarters in San Antonio, said in an e-mail.

To contact the reporter on this story: Paul Burkhardt in New York at pburkhardt@bloomberg.net.

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