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    Valero Hopes Gas Shortages Will Stop

    Spot gasoline shortages in Colorado expected to end with production boosts.

    HOUSTON -- Valero Energy Corp., petroleum refiner and marketer headquartered here, is crossing its fingers that spot gasoline shortages in its market will end when supply is boosted by the startup of a closed Texas refinery that is going back into production, Reuters reported.

    In late March, a number of Diamond Shamrock stations supplied by Valero in the Denver and Colorado Springs area of Colorado ran out of gasoline because of the closed refinery, according to local newspaper reports. Signs at the stations read ''Sorry, Out of Fuel,'' according to a report in the Colorado Springs Gazette. Out of the 30 Diamond Shamrock stations in the area, seven were out of fuel, three had all pumps available and the remainder were out of some fuel grades, the newspaper stated.

    "There is no reason to panic, there is plenty of fuel," Eric Escudero, spokesman for AAA Colorado, said at the time, adding that the shortages were confined to the Diamond Shamrock brand.

    Valero's 170,000 barrel-per-day refinery in Sunray, Texas, closed as a result of a Feb. 16 fire. The company expects to restore some production to the refinery in the first half of April, Reuters reported.

    "In the meantime, we have been working very hard to purchase supply from other terminals to meet our needs," Valero spokesman Bill Day said in a statement. "We are currently supplying our network as quickly as possible, and are hopeful that this issue will be completely resolved soon.''

    "We apologize for any inconvenience anyone may have experienced from these outages," Day added.

    The refinery also supplies gasoline to Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.

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