Gas stations in Palo Alto and throughout the Bay Area could soon be selling gasoline refined from tar sands oil from Canada. The Motley Fool recently reported that Valero Energy Corporation, a San Antonio based refining firm, has ordered 1,000 rail tank cars to be used to move Canadian tar sands oil to its refineries.
The Valero Benicia Refinery has plans in the works to increase the number of tracks leading into the refinery and plans to receive up to 70,000 barrels of the tar sands oil daily.
Tar sands oil isn’t without its detractors. The Sierra Club website refers to tar sand oil as “the most toxic fossil fuel on the planet…..”
Canada has huge reserves of tar sands and is currently producing about 1 million barrels a day.
The Benicia Valero Refinery, which is likely to receive the oil, can refine 170,000 barrels of oil a day according to its website. The refinery also supplies 25 percent of the gasoline consumed in Northern California.
Valero is reportedly switching to the Canadian oil because it is quite a bit less expensive than other grades of crude. But, because gasoline has become a global commodity, it is unlikely the lower cost of the raw material will translate into lower prices at the pump.
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