Refineries scale back in advance of storm

East Coast refineries shut down or scale back as storm moves in; oil around $86 per barrel

Associated Press
Oil inches up to $86 as storm pounds US coast

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A stranded car sits parked along a street near downtown Norfolk, Va., Monday, Oct. 29, 2012. Rain and wind from Hurricane Sandy are hitting the area. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Oil refineries on the East Coast of the U.S. are shutting down or throttling back in advance of a massive storm.

A Philadelphia refinery that is the biggest on the East Coast was scaling back. And the second-biggest East Coast refinery, a Phillips 66 operation in Linden, N.J., is shut down.

Oil prices have not moved much. They're down 30 cents to $85.98 in morning trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Traders are balancing two big risks. One is that the storm will damage refineries, , which normally would drive up gasoline prices. But, businesses are shutting down and people are staying home, which would reduce gasoline demand — and prices.

Nationally, gasoline prices at the pump fell a half-penny from Sunday, to $3.453 per gallon.

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