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Californian consumers boost Chevron’s refining profits, says Consumer Watchdog

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Chevron has reported its highest US refining profits for the first nine months of the year – US$2.6 billion as compared to US$1.7 billion for the same period last year. Since 54% of the company's refining takes place in California, California drivers paid the price, according to Consumer Watchdog.

"Chevron's results reinforce the fact that our gasoline market is stacked against consumers by oil companies that routinely manipulate the supply and price of gasoline," said Consumer Advocate Liza Tucker. "Instead of passing through savings from tanking crude oil prices, these companies keep a larger and larger share of the profit because they can."

Chevron reported a US refining profit of US$1.2 billion for the three months ended 30 September, beating the highest quarterly earnings from downstream operations that the company ever reported of US$1.03 billion for 4Q08.

Chevron attributed the refining profits to "strong West Coast margins" in addition to some favourable tax effects and the absence of a second quarter turnaround at its El Segundo refinery, which improved volumes and kept down operating expenses.

On a conference all with financial analysts, Chevron CEO John Watson lamented an oversupply of crude oil and said the timing was uncertain on a rebound in prices. "The market is producing more than consumers want," he said. "Nobody makes money at a dollar fifty gas where [prices] remain now.” But Chevron and other California refineries are making plenty of money off of Californians. According to, the average price for a gallon of gas in California is US$2.82. The US average is $US2.18, according to AAA.

Adapted from press release by Rosalie Starling

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