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Author: Milligram46 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 71394  
Subject: Re: simple question about gas Date: 1/22/2013 3:15 PM
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I'll wade into this one.

So you're at a Shell station. You're pumping Shell gasoline. Surprise, the base gasoline may not have come from a Shell refinery.

Lets look at the state of Washington. Washington state is unique in the United States in that is a closed loop system when it comes to refined fuel. Washington state has the 6th highest refining capacity of any state in the United States, with six refineries. The "brands" represented are Tesoro, Shell, British Petroleum (ARCO), Conoco, and Phillips.

Tesoro Anacortes Refinery (Tesoro), Anacortes 108,000 bbl/d (17,200 m3/)

Shell Anacortes Refinery (Shell Oil Company), Anacortes 145,000 bbl/d (23,100 m3/d)

Cherry Point Refinery (BP), Blaine 225,000 bbl/d (35,800 m3/d)

ConocoPhillips Ferndale Refinery (Phillips 66), Ferndale 105,000 bbl/d (16,700 m3/d)

Tacoma Refinery (U.S. Oil and Refining), Tacoma 35,000 bbl/d (5,600 m3/d)

Imperium Grays Harbor (Imperium Renewables), Anacortes 4,580 bbl/d (728 m3/d)

Now notice on that list. No ExxonMobil, no Chevron, no Texaco. Yet we have Exxon gas stations, Chevron gas stations, and Texaco gas stations. Also, interestingly, you'll be hard pressed to find a Conoco station even though a refinery is here.

The fuel isn't shipped in by pipeline or tanker. Because of the mountains that surround the region, all of the refined products for Washington, most of Idaho, Oregon and a part of northern California all come from Washington. About 90% of the crude oil that is refined here is North Slope Alaskan crude. The remaining 10% is largely Canadian and Indonesian, it simply costs too much and its too far to tanker Middle East crude to the region. Because of the challenges of Puget Sound, tankers are not allowed into the Port of Seattle or Tacoma, so crude is offloaded at Port Angeles.

So, if you go to an Exxon station in Seattle. You are not buying Exxon gas. You are however, buying the Exxon formulated additives added to the gas. If you buy Shell gasoline here, it is almost assuredly from the Shell refinery, ditto if buy Arco. Buy Chevron, you could be buying Shell gasoline with the Chevron additives added at the pump.

So the gasoline you buy at the pump, may not come from the same refiner - however the chemical additives (cleaners, detergents, boosters, etc. etc.) do come from that provider and are added at the pump.
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