Santa Monica, CA – California’s 4th largest oil refiner reported today that it made its highest profits ever on oil refining in California this summer. Consumer Watchdog said the investor reports prove that the state’s excessive gasoline prices, which were a dollar more than the US average this summer, were pure profit for the refining industry and unreasonable.
The company’s 3rd Quarter of 2015 represented the most profitable quarter of California refining for Valero since the company began providing California profits. The company made $342 million in California alone. The amount is fourteen times higher than the same quarter last year, when it made $24 Million on California refining. Other companies will report in the next couple of days.
“The proof of the gasoline gouging this summer is in today’s profit reports, which specifically break out California oil refining profits,” said Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog. “It’s time for the legislature and governor to compel executives to explain how they could make so much more money by keeping California’s gasoline inventories nearly dry. By shorting the market they are making a killing and we need new laws to stop that.”
Valero’s per barrel profits also jumped to near record highs. The company made $13.54 for every barrel they refined in California – over three times more than the average profit per barrel since 2005 – $4.02. In the 3rd quarter of 2014, the company made $1.16 per barrel.
On the company’s investor call Wednesday morning, executives admitted the company is exporting 89,000 barrels of gasoline per day from the United States, most of which went to Mexico and Latin America. Consumer Watchdog has been tracking shipments of gasoline leaving California for Latin America throughout the 2015 price spike. The consumer group has called for greater transparency and inventory controls.
Throughout 2015, Californians have witnessed a deviation from typical gas prices in the state. While usually Californians only pay 20-30 cents more than the nationwide average, in 2015 that amount reached well over a dollar. The high prices come while crude oil has fallen to more than half of what it was just over a year ago. The high prices have been perpetuated by a series of exports, industry downtime, and market manipulation.
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