When Barack Obama announced on Monday that automakers would need to improve their gas mileage, he claimed that it would prevent dollars from going to dictators, as we would use less “oil that endangers our economy.”
It’s all part of the great “energy independence” confusionfest that the President has been peddling. (Remember Mexico and Canada provide the most oil to the U.S. Also remember, they are not run by dictators.)
In the midst of this debate, it’s important to note that U.S. refineries are not running at maximum capacity.
The falling price of oil and gasoline, coupled with low demand is causing Valero Energy to close a Texas refinery and cut production across the board:
FT: The biggest US refiner has 15 refineries across the country. It said that in addition to shutting its large Texas City refinery, it would close the fluid catalytic cracking unit, which primarily produces petrol, at its Corpus Christi East Plant.
Valero has cut the average useage rate at such petrol-producing units to 70-75 per cent capacity, down from the near full capacity at which the whole US system was running just a few years ago.
…Valero also cut its estimate for 2009 capital spending to $2.7bn from its previous estimate of $3.5bn. Analysts had been expecting more than $4bn in capital spending for 2009. The company said that the cut in planned expenditure would have an impact on discretionary projects at many of its refineries.
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