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About California Gas

Hey there, Californians!

Ready to discover some cool gas facts you probably haven't heard before?

We've got everything from how many gas stations there are to how gas is made, right here in our own backyard. Let's dive in!

The price that Californians pay at the pump is determined and affected by the following market factors:

Diesel with source credit

Did you know that California is the most heavily regulated state in the nation?

As a prime example, simply look at the entire list of regulatory agencies and departments that impose rules and regulations on the fuels industry in California:

  1. Air Resources Board
  2. Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists
  3. Board of Accountancy
  4. Board of Equalization
  5. Board of Forestry and Fire Protection
  6. Building Standards Commission
  7. Bureau of Automotive Repair
  8. Bureau of State Audits
  9. California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority
  10. California Architects Board
  11. California Department of Tax & Fee Administration
  12. California Emergency Management Agency
  13. California Energy Commission
  14. California Highway Patrol
  15. California Pollution Control Financing Authority
  16. Commission of State Mandates
  17. Department of Alcohol and Drug Problems
  18. Department of Conservation
  19. Department of Consumer Affairs
  20. Department of Corporations
  21. Department of Fair Employment and Housing
  22. Department of Fish and Game
  23. Department of Food and Agriculture
  24. Department of Industrial Relations
  25. Department of Insurance
  26. Department of Motor Vehicles
  27. Department of Public Health
  28. Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery
  29. Department of Toxic Substances Control
  30. Department of Transportation
  31. Department of Water Resources
  32. Division of Workers Compensation
  33. Environmental Protection Agency
  34. Fish and Game Commission
  35. Franchise Tax Board
  36. New Motor Vehicle Board
  37. Occupational Safety and Health Hazard Assessment
  38. Office of Adminstrative Law
  39. Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment
  40. Office of Spill Prevention and Response
  41. Office of the State Fire Marshal
  42. Public Utilities Commission
  43. State Personnel Board
  44. State Treasurer
  45. State Water Resources Control Board

That's 45 TOTAL agencies!

If you were wondering what some of the rules and regulations are, we've selected a few of the hundreds that our industry needs to manage every day so you can see for yourself the additional factors out of our control that add to the price of gas:

  • SWRB Annual Operating Permit
  • City Licenses
  • DMV Fees Per Truck
  • CHP Vehicle Permits
  • CHP Inspections
  • Opacity Testing
  • Cargo Tank Testing
  • Monthly Driver Training
  • Annual Driver Training
  • Triannual Driver Testing
  • Designated Operator Monthly and Annual Inspection
  • DOT/CSA Administration
  • CHP Triannual BIT Inspection
  • Triannual SB 989 Testing
  • Triannual SPCC
  • Triannual Overfill Testing
  • Triannual APSA Testing
  • Annual APCD Site Testing
  • Annual Designated Operator Training
  • Annual Overfill Prevention Training
  • SWRB Annual Operating Permit
  • Building Permit Fees
  • CARB Annual Operating Permits
  • Annual Spill Bucket Testing
  • Annual Site Monitoring Certification
  • Annual Weights & Measures Testing
  • Develop HMBP/CERS
  • Annual HMBP/CERS Submittal
  • Annual DTSC Hazardous Materials Verification
  • Certified Tech Required Repairs
  • SPCC Development for Aboveground tanks
  • Monthly SPCC Inspections
  • Annual SPCC Inspections
  • SWPP Development for Site
  • SWPP Observations
  • SWPP Sampling
  • SWPP Annual Reporting
  • New Employee Required Training
  • Annual Hazmat Training

That's only 39 rules and regulations of the HUNDREDS that exist!

[Special thank you to Chevron El Segundo for this detailed explainer]

Chevron El Segundo is committed to producing the finest fuels through its refining process. Whether pumped through pipelines or shipped thousands of miles in tankers, crude oil arrives at our refinery in its rawest form.

It is the job of the people who work here to convert that crude oil into fuel we can use – gasoline for cars, jet fuel for airplanes, diesel for trucks and trains, propane and butane for home heating and barbecues, and fuel oils, coke, and certain chemicals for industrial use.

The refining process starts in the distillation towers.

Here, liquids and vapors are separated into components according to weight and boiling point. The lighter, more valuable fuels are separated from the heavier products.

From crude units, nearly all of the products are then treated to remove sulfur and nitrogen, primarily by "hydrotreating." Hydrotreating uses hydrogen to bind with sulfur and nitrogen.

The resulting sulfur is recovered and sold for industrial uses.

The nitrogen is converted to ammonia for sale to the fertilizer industry and for use in the refinery.

The remaining nitrogen is converted back to harmless nitrogen gas, which is a key component of the air we breathe.

El Segundo, California, USA - July 5, 2022: Chevron Products Company Oil Refinery in El Segundo, California, USA. Chevron Corporation is an American multinational energy corporation.

The carbon dioxide we recover is sold for uses such as beverage carbonation. Only about 40 percent of crude oil is comprised of the ingredients for the high-quality fuels we produce. The remaining components of crude are heavy, poor-performing fuels.

To convert the heavy fuels to usable transportation  fuels requires a relatively new process known as conversion or cracking.

Using cracking units, the large molecules in heavy fuels are converted into smaller molecules, which we can use to make the transportation fuels you need.

The Chevron El Segundo Refinery supplies 20 percent of all motor vehicle fuels and 40 percent of the jet fuel consumed in Southern California. In Order to make these products, we have three main types of cracking units:



The Coker is a thermal cracking unit. It heats the heaviest portion of the crude to a high temperature, causing it to crack into lighter materials.

The light materials produced are gasoline, jet fuel, and diesel.

The light fuel boils off, leaving behind a soild coal-like material called petroleum cake.

Petroleum coke is transported to the Port of Los Angeles, where it is shipped to Asia and Europe to be used in heating and manufacturing.


Fluidized Catalytic Cracking Unit

The Fluidized Catalytic Cracking Unit (FCC), or "cat cracker," cracks the heavy material into gasoline, the most demanded transportation fuel.


Hyrdocracking Unit 

The Hyrdocracking Unit  is another catalytic cracking unit. Chevron's patented hydrocracking process is called an ISOMAX Unit. The catalyst in the ISOMAX unit is designed to crack heavy material into jet fuel.

After the molecules have been cracked, these fuels are still not ready to power an automobile or jet engine. The molecules must be arranged and rearranged to burn cleanly and with better performance.

Crude oil refining process infographic and final products, oil industry and production

The Catalytic Reforming and Alkylation processes all result in higher octane fuels which are designed to meet these needs.

Finally, after more than 200 hydrocarbons and additives have been blended into the fuel, the finished products are held in storage tanks, ready to be shipped via tanker, truck, or pipeline to our customers.

Fossil energy sources, including oil, coal and natural gas, are non-renewable resources that formed when prehistoric plants and animals died and were gradually buried by layers of rock. Over millions of years, different types of fossil fuels formed -- depending on what combination of organic matter was present, how long it was buried and what temperature and pressure conditions existed as time passed.

Today, fossil fuel industries drill or mine for these energy sources, burn them to produce electricity, or refine them for use as fuel for heating or transportation.

The Energy Department maintains emergency petroleum reserves, ensures responsible development of America’s oil and gas resources and executes natural gas regulatory responsibilities. In addition, scientists at the Energy Department’s National Labs are developing technologies to reduce carbon emissions and ensure fossil energy sources play a role in America’s clean energy future.


V.Ryan 2017
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