In response to Gas prices soar (The Daily Astorian, May 18): Oil Companies are continually performing maintenance at their refineries. They do, however, perform a more complex annual servicing which they call a turn around.
Whenever the oil company performs a turn around, they take down part or all of their refining capacity, depending on total capacity of the refinery. With the limited number of refineries on the West Coast, when one goes down the price of the products they produce goes up. In this case, its gasoline and diesel fuel.
Lets say there are 10 refineries refining and marketing gasoline. When one goes down, there are 10 refineries going after the capacity of nine refineries. The refinery that is down for maintenance has to replace the product with gallons they purchase on the open market.
When there is more than one refinery out of the picture, the problem is just exacerbated. When any commodity we purchase, or most anything for that matter, is in short supply, we pay more for it.