Los Angeles Gasoline Slides to Five-Month Low Against Futures

Spot gasoline in Los Angeles slid to the lowest level against futures since March with production of the fuel at a record high for this time of year.

Output of California-blend gasoline, or Carbob, surged 16 percent to 7.34 million barrels in the week ended July 26, the most in 14 months and the highest level for that period since at least 1992, according to data from the state Energy Commission.

Carbob in Los Angeles declined versus gasoline futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange for a second day, widening its discount by 5 cents to 14.5 cents a gallon, data compiled by Bloomberg at 1:46 p.m. New York time show. That’s the biggest discount for the fuel since March 12 and the lowest level for this time of year since at least 2008.

Prompt-delivery in Los Angeles tumbled 8.64 cents to $2.7692 a gallon, the lowest since January.

Carbob in San Francisco also weakened 5 cents against futures to a discount of 15.5 cents. The discount to Los Angeles Carbob was unchanged at 1 cent.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s Martinez refinery in Northern California is operating normally after reporting an unscheduled unit shutdown Aug. 4, Destin Singleton, a Shell spokeswoman in Houston, said yesterday. The company’s 147,500-barrel-a-day Puget Sound refinery in Washington state was also running “as planned” after flaring gases Aug. 4, she said by e-mail today.

Air Products & Chemicals Inc. expects its Wilmington plant, which supplies hydrogen to refineries in the Los Angeles area, to return to normal rates by tomorrow after a valve replacement, Art George, a spokesman at the company’s headquarters in Allentown, Pennsylvania, said by e-mail yesterday.

Retail Price

Retail gasoline in California dropped 0.4 cent to $3.949 a gallon, Heathrow, Florida-based AAA, the nation’s largest motoring organization, said today on its website.

California-grade, or CARB, diesel in Los Angeles slipped 0.25 cent against ultra-low-sulfur diesel futures on the Nymex to a premium of 4.25 cents a gallon. The same fuel in San Francisco was unchanged at 4 cents a gallon above futures.

Low-sulfur diesel in Portland, Oregon, a benchmark for the U.S. Pacific Northwest, was also unchanged at 3 cents a gallon over futures.

Conventional gasoline in Portland weakened for a fourth day, losing 2.5 cents to a discount of 7 cents a gallon below Nymex futures, its lowest level since April.

The 3-2-1 crack spread of Alaska North Slope crude, Carbob in Los Angeles and CARB diesel in Los Angeles narrowed for a fifth day, losing $1.56 to $9.94 a barrel at 2:05 p.m. New York time. The spread, a rough measure of refinery profitability, is the smallest since January.