Consumer Watchdog: Mystery Tanker Helped Drive Up Gas Prices in CA

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A consumer advocate says California paid $10 billion dollars more for gas than the rest of the country partly because of the movements of a “mystery tanker.” Consumer Watchdog’s Jamie Court says his organization tracked the Exxon oil tanker “American Progress” along with other ships and made didn’t like what they found.

We had a big refinery outage in Torrance (in 2015) and we lost 800 million gallons of gasoline in the first nine months of the year.  OK, so how much did Exxon import? We looked at state records and they only imported 12 million gallons of gasoline, not enough to make up for that loss of production, which kept our supplies tight and our prices high. This tanker, we charted it through GPS, and it basically took a 144-day journey through the Panama Canal…hung out in Singapore for 70 days next to a refinery that could make our gasoline, took it back to LA but did not unload. (Instead, it) went to Florida and dumped the gasoline.

Court said Exxon did not import gasoline into California last year.  Chevron was exporting last summer – sending hundreds of millions of gallons of refined gas to South America.  According to Court, Tesoro, Valero and Chevron refineries had their biggest profits ever while Californians paid a premium for regular gas. Court was a guest on 790 KABC’s McIntyre in the Morning with Doug McIntyre and Terry Rae Elmer.

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