US Refineries Close, Pushing Gas Prices Higher
With crude oil so expensive, they can't make money
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 17, 2012 9:20 AM CDT
Gas prices are seen at a Sunoco station in Lyndhurst, Ohio, in 2011. Prices keep rising this year, too.   (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)

(Newser) – Add one more victim to the soaring price of petroleum—refineries. Yes, despite gas prices rising another 6% in February, refineries in the US Northeast are shutting down because they're losing money, reports Wall Street Journal. And with Philadelphia-based Sunoco set to close the largest refinery in the region in July, expect gas prices to keep going higher. "Our Northeast refining business has lost nearly a billion dollars in the past three years, and those losses have threatened Sunoco's very existence as a company," said a Sunoco spokesman.

Worldwide demand and Mideast tensions have caused the price of oil to soar over the past year, but refineries have not been able to increase their prices to keep up. Northeast refineries don't have the facilities to handle lower-quality, cheaper crude, and a lack of pipelines to the central United States means they don't have access to cheaper oil produced there and have to use more expensive crude from overseas. Combined with the rising demand for gas in summer, analysts think the East Coast could see fuel shortages this summer that push prices to $5 per gallon.
 

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