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State's Unocal Refineries Modified for Reformulated Gasoline

March 01, 1996|JOHN O'DELL

COSTA MESA — Unocal Corp.'s Orange County-based 76 Products Co. said it has completed modifications to its California refineries to produce the reformulated gasoline required by state law.

All refineries in the state must begin making the specially blended gasoline today--many have been producing it for several months already--and all service stations must begin selling it by June 1.

Unocal stations will begin receiving shipments of the new product well before the deadline, said spokesman Scott Carroll.

Because of the higher cost of producing the gasoline, sales in other states are not anticipated, he said.

He declined to comment on Unocal's pricing plans. "The marketplace will decide" whether the price of the new gasoline will increase at the pump, Carroll said.

Unocal spent almost $400 million over three years to modify its Los Angeles and San Francisco refineries, which recently began producing the reformulated gas. Arco spent $600 million on its giant Carson refinery alone.

The new formula for gasoline, required only in California, means that refiners must alter the molecular structure of crude oil.

When sold statewide by all gasoline retailers, the new gas is expected to produce about 3 million fewer pounds of pollution each day, the equivalent of taking 3.5 million cars off the state's roads, according to the California Air Resources Board.

El Segundo-based Unocal sells gasoline in the Western U.S. and has about 1,300 branded service stations in California. 76 Products Co. is its marketing, refining, product supply and transportation unit.

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