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South City 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 South San Francisco 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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William Dixson April 12, 2013 at 04:40 AM
As I stated elsewhere the proposed rail unloading facility in Benicia isn't just for heavy bitumen crude oil from Alberta. Far from it. It would also allow unit oil trains to deliver crude oil from the Bakken in North Dakota, the Permian Basin in west Texas, the Niobrabra shale play in Colorado, all places that do not have the ability to pipeline the crude oil to the refinery. And movement of light, sweet crude oil from the Eagle Ford shale play is not out of the question, probably could be used for blending purposes. Believe me the general public doesn't seem to understand these things per my 40 plus years in the oil business.

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