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.

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