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Gulf Gasoline Falls a 3rd Day as Valero Boosts Meruax

Spot gasoline weakened against futures for a third day on the Gulf Coast as Valero Energy Corp. finished maintenance at a Meraux, Louisiana, refinery.

A fluid catalytic cracker at the 135,000-barrel-a-day Meraux plant is increasing toward planned rates after the work, said Bill Day, a San Antonio-based spokesman for Valero. The refinery carried out catalyst changes through the month of April, he said.

Valero also completed maintenance at the McKee refinery in Texas yesterday, while Phillips 66 finished work at its Borger, Texas, plant. The site have a combined capacity of 316,000 barrels a day.

Conventional, 85-octane gasoline, or CBOB on the Gulf Coast weakened by 1.88 cents to 17.63 cents a gallon below futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 2:11 p.m., data compiled by Bloomberg show. It was the third consecutive loss, the longest string of declines since March 25.

Ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel in the region was unchanged at a discount of 3.5 cents versus futures.

The 3-2-1 crack spread in the Gulf, a rough measure of refining margins based on West Texas Intermediate in Cushing, Oklahoma, retreated 23 cents to $21.83 a barrel. The same spread for Light Louisiana Sweet oil strengthened by 12 cents to $10.88 a barrel.

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