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California Gas Stations Begin to Shut on Record-High Spot Prices

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10/03/2012 11:31 PM
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California Gas Stations Begin to Shut on Record-High Spot Prices
California Gas Stations Begin to Shut on Record-High Spot Prices
By Lynn Doan and Joshua Falk - Oct 3, 2012 5:19 PM PT

Gasoline station owners in the Los Angeles area including Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST) are beginning to shut pumps because of supply shortages that have driven wholesale fuel prices to record highs.

Costco’s outlet in Simi Valley, 40 miles (64 kilometers) northwest of Los Angeles, ran out of regular gasoline yesterday and was selling premium fuel at the price of regular, Jeff Cole, Costco’s vice president of gasoline, said by telephone. The company hasn’t been able to find enough unbranded summer-grade gasoline to keep its stations supplied, he said.
Enlarge image California Gas Stations Begin to Shut on Record-High Spot Prices

A gas delivery in San Anselmo, California. Photographer: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The gasoline shortage “feels like a hurricane to me, but it’s the West Coast,” Cole said yesterday. “We’re obviously extremely disheartened that we are unable to do this, and we’re pulling fuel from all corners of California to fix this.”

Spot, or wholesale, gasoline in Los Angeles has surged 70 cents this week to a premium of $1.15 a gallon versus gasoline futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange, data compiled by Bloomberg show. That’s the highest level for the fuel since at least November 2007, when Bloomberg began publishing prices there. On an outright basis, the fuel jumped to $3.9495 a gallon.

Gasoline at the pump cost $4.232 a gallon in California on Oct. 2, according to AAA.com, 45 cents more than the national average of $3.782. In Los Angeles the price was $4.259. Gasoline futures for the front month on the Nymex sank to the lowest level in 10 weeks yesterday, settling at $2.7995 a gallon, down from $3.342 on Sept. 28. Retail price movements tend to lag behind those of futures.
‘Out of Gasoline’

Low-P, a gasoline station in Calabasas, California, 30 miles west of Los Angeles, stopped selling unleaded gasoline Oct. 2 and ran out of high-octane and medium-octane fuel yesterday, John Ravi, the station’s owner, said by phone yesterday. Ravi said he posted an “Out of Gasoline” sign on each pump and took down the prices outside his shop.

“I can get gas, but it’s going to cost me $4.90 a gallon, and I can’t sell it here for $5,” Ravi said. “If you come here right now, I’ve got some diesel left. That’s all. My market is open, but no gas.”

A Chevron Corp. (CVX) oil pipeline shut down last month, an Oct. 1 power failure at Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM)’s Torrance refinery and units down at other plants have cut supplies in the market.

Spot California-blend gasoline, or Carbob, in San Francisco surged 26 cents to $1.10 a gallon over futures, also the highest level since at least 2007.
‘Not Worth It’

“We’re going to start shutting pumps Friday,” Sam Krikorian, owner of Quality Auto Repair in North Hollywood, said by phone yesterday. “Gas is costing me almost $4.75 a gallon with taxes. There’s no sense in staying open. The profit margins are so low it’s not worth it.”


[link to www.bloomberg.com]
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10/04/2012 12:23 AM
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Re: California Gas Stations Begin to Shut on Record-High Spot Prices
Gas doom! Shin this pit...