The volatile refining industry has been the beneficiary of some positive margin growth in 2012. Crack spreads have been improving thanks to crude oil prices that have remained below $100 on the NYMEX futures curve since May of this year, while gasoline prices at the pump have remained over $3.50 per gallon for the majority of the year so far. Companies like Phillips 66 (NYSE:PSX) and Marathon Petroleum (NYSE:MPC) have been producing great operating figures, and that has carried over to the mid-cap players in this space as well.

Touting its strong crack spread and record throughput, CVR Energy (NYSE:CVI) reported a record third quarter this week. An 82% increase year-over-year in sales for the petroleum segment drove the bulk of this success, with mixed results from its fertilizer segment. Other mid-cap peers have displayed similar results and hope to continue the momentum into 2013.

Watch the following video for further discussion.

Joel South and Taylor Muckerman have no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Western Refining. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.