Los Angeles Gasoline Hits One-Month Low as Plants Restore Output

Spot gasoline in Los Angeles dropped to the lowest level against futures in more than a month as refineries in Southern California restored production after seasonal maintenance.

Tesoro Corp.’s 97,000-barrel-a-day Wilmington plant near Los Angeles finished a turnaround Feb. 21, and Valero Energy Corp. returned a fluid catalytic cracker and alkylation unit to service at Wilmington last weekend following repairs. BP Plc’s 266,000-barrel-a-day Carson plant is scheduled to restart units over the next week after planned work.

California-blend gasoline, or Carbob, in Los Angeles dropped 12.5 cents to a discount of 5 cents against futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest level since Jan. 22, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Prompt delivery of the fuel tumbled 21.75 cents to $3.0563 a gallon.

Carbob in San Francisco slipped for the first time in four days, declining 12 cents to a discount of 15 cents a gallon. The spread between the fuels in San Francisco and Los Angeles narrowed 0.5 cent to 10 cents a gallon, the smallest gap since Jan. 8.

Gasoline production on the U.S. West Coast, or PADD 5 region, gained for a third consecutive week in the seven days ended Feb. 22, jumping 5 percent to 1.57 million barrels a day, according to the Energy Information Administration, the Energy Department’s statistical arm. That’s the highest output since Dec. 14.

Diesel Prices

California-blend, or CARB, diesel in Los Angeles was unchanged at a premium of 16 cents a gallon against heating oil futures traded on the Nymex. The same fuel in San Francisco held at a premium of 14.5 cents a gallon against futures.

In Portland, Oregon, the premium for low-sulfur diesel widened 1 cent to 13 cents a gallon against futures. Conventional, 84-octane gasoline there dropped from a four-month high against gasoline futures, weakening 10 cents to a premium of 11 cents a gallon.

The 3-2-1 refinery crack spread of Alaska North Slope crude, Carbob in Los Angeles and CARB diesel in Los Angeles narrowed for a second day, losing $4.63 to $21.27 a barrel, the lowest level in a month.

The average retail price of regular unleaded gasoline in California rose last week above $4 a gallon for the first time since November, AAA said on its website. Retail prices in the state climbed to $4.238 a gallon today. They reached a record $4.671 a gallon on Oct. 9.

-- Editor: David Marino

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