Found an excellent post on Craigslist: I know you'd all like to think this is an oil company conspiracy, but you need to look to your own politicians first. Oil companies have been warning state legislators that this was going to happen, but every politician is to afraid to appear to be friendly to oil companies. Here are some proposals that have been proposed to reduce the refining crunch- but state legislators have refused to take them up: 1. Allow an increase in refining capacity. Although some new capacity has been added through efficiency increases, it hasn't increased nearly as much as demand. The regulation, needed legislation, and potential litigation doesn't make it worthwhile to try and build more here. 2. Change California emissions standards to match the rest of the country. Current requirements require different summer and winter blends (in California) only for pollution control. This requires both maintenance downtime, and significantly more complicated equipment- which needs more maintenance. Oh, and as much as you complain about maintenance downtime, how much would you complain if there was a refinery fire because of poor maintenance? 3. Be consistent with the environmental standards picked. The oil companies said MTBE was a bad idea from the beginning. They said it posed a greater environmental hazard than it offset. But california made a law requiring it anyways. This required refinery additions to be built costing somewhere near $400 million per. Not a small investment, even for an oil company. Then California turns around- outlaws MTBE, and sues the oil companies for the damage it caused. Do you think that encouraged investment in new California refineries?