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Watsonville Drivers Could Soon Be Burning Gasoline Made From Canadian Tar Sands Oil

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

Gas stations in Watsonville 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.

Tell us in the comment section how you feel about getting around  in a car powered by tar sands oil?

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David H. Perez March 20, 2013 at 04:04 PM
Typical of big business in this country, and capitalism American style. Total disregard for the safety of the consumer public and the planet as they will be marketing "the most toxic fossil fuel on the planet" simply because it is cheaper. But alas, "it is unlikely the lower cost of the raw material will translate into lower prices at the pump." Not that I would ever expect an oil company to do anything to benefit the consumer - this will just increase their already ridiculous profits even more. Time for me to research which stations in town sell fuel from the Valero Refinery and avoid those stations.
Gasman March 21, 2013 at 04:25 PM
No one would ever know the difference. Auto fuel has to meet strict standards and you would not be able to tell the difference between Auto fuel made out of sweet crude as opposed to tar sand crude. If you will not buy Auto fuel that has been produced by Valero you might as well quite driving, Valero is the largest refinery in the US
Doc1604 March 22, 2013 at 04:20 AM
It is only the "opinion" of some that the "Oil Sands" crude is more "poluting" than other crudes. One must consider how it might polute. The consideration of CO2 as a "polutent" is to call all green plants poluters. I live in pine forest country, the pine tree is the largest source of CO2 in this area. Second, refineries must meet emission standards, no matter whic type crude they process. Third, China will be happy to have the Canadian "Oil Sand" oil. And finally, the Canadians art not using money from the sale of oil to fund attacks on the USA and other Western Countries (Remember 9-11 Saudie money helped kill 3,000 citizens). Doc1604
Steven Arghue April 17, 2013 at 09:18 PM
"No one would ever know the difference. Auto fuel has to meet strict standards and you would not be able to tell the difference between Auto fuel made out of sweet crude as opposed to tar sand crude." Nonesense. It is far more pollting to refine tar sands than other crude.

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