Oil refinery profits set a record in California

Oil refinery profits set a California record of $1.61 a gallon in July as consumers in the Los Angeles region paid as much as a dollar more than the rest of the nation.

The refineries' gross profits, the amount they collect on a gallon of gasoline, was the highest on record since the California Energy Commission began collecting data in 1999, said Gordon Schremp, a senior fuels specialist at the commission.

The record $1.61 was set during the week of July 13, when gasoline prices reached as high as $5 a gallon in downtown Los Angeles. Schremp said the next report for the period ending July 20 could go even higher.

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Refineries are charging more because of low gasoline inventories following a February explosion at Exxon Mobil's Torrance plant that cut production at the facility to less than 20%.

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