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Gas Made From Tar Sands Oil in Your Tank? It's Palo Alto-bound

Up to 70K barrels of Canadian tar sands crude will be delivered daily, by rail, to a Bay Area refinery.


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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William Dixson April 12, 2013 at 04:30 AM
I have it on good authority that the biggest reason Valero wants to build the crude oil rail unloading facility in Benicia isn't just because of the low price of bitumen oil from Alberta. It also allows the refinery to be able to source many different types of American produced crude oil, such as oil from the Permian Basin in Texas (a likely source), the Bakken in North Dakota (another likely source), oil from Colorado, ect Lets no get our panties in a wad here. IF and only IF it's determined that all the oil being sent in is tar sands oil then panties can be wadded.

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