Valero Energy Corp. yesterday reported a $254-million loss for the normally robust second quarter, and the United States' largest independent refiner said it could lose money for the rest of the year if a weak economy persists. Refiners have been hurt as everyone from families to cargo-hauling truckers hit the road less, which has led to slumping demand for gasoline, diesel and other products like jet fuel. The company said net income for the April-June period amounted to a loss of 48 cents per share. In the second quarter a year ago, Valero earned $734-million, or $1.37 per share. Revenue fell 51 per cent to $17.9-billion from a year ago. VLO-N (NYSE) fell 45 cents to $18.32.