What: Shares of refiner Alon USA Energy (NYSE:ALJ) rose 12% today after reporting earnings.

So what: Third-quarter revenue rose 16% to $2.36 billion, well ahead of the $2.18 billion analysts expected. Net income rose 51% to $43.2 million, or $0.84 per share, also ahead of the $0.59 Wall Street expected.

Now what: Results were driven by a strong margin at the company's Big Spring refinery, which generated a $28.19-per-barrel operating margin. Right now, refiners are in a sweet spot of low oil prices and elevated gas prices, but the high margins may not last forever. Still, I like the operating excellence at Alon and think there's upside for investors if oil doesn't jump too fast like it's doing today.

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Fool contributor Travis Hoium has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. You can follow Travis on Twitter at @FlushDrawFool, check out his personal stock holdings, or follow his CAPS picks at TMFFlushDrawThe Motley Fool has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. 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.