Californians may have been doomed years ago to pay higher and higher gasoline prices for the foreseeable future because of the state’s steadily diminishing refinery capacity.
That fate became far more certain in mid-May, when both the Federal Trade Commission and California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris signed off on the acquisition of Arco by Texas-based Tesoro Corp.
As average gasoline prices in this state rose above $4 per gallon, with levels topping $4.65 in some regions, both so-called regulators threw up their hands and said they could not stop this plainly anti-competitive deal.
In the days immediately after the proposed acquisition was announced last winter, it seemed the anti-trust implications of Tesoro operating both its existing refineries in Martinez (formerly the Ultramar/Beacon refinery) and Wilmington (a former Shell facility) would force Tesoro to sell off the Wilmington facility in order to make its Arco deal go through. The Arco refinery Tesoro takes over in Carson is considerably larger than the Wilmington plant...