Cykur, how often do you go past the simple TEC trade-port technology on their empire tree? Sure, in multi-star systems you'll probably go all the way to pervasive economy...in which case your whole tidbit about getting the refinery tech for cargo-expansion is true...
Damn straight it is true, you just answered your own question about technology amortization.
In a long game a good spot usually presents itself. Small games, you probably won't even get around to researching refineries.
I think it is pretty clear no one uses refineries in short games -- I certainly don't.
Okay, these are MY quotes from this thread.... why are you confusing this issue? Whether it is smart to build economy or military is a completely different question.
BUT, this thread was about understanding Refineries vs Tradeports. Refinery tech cost amortization, at least for TEC, is not an issue in a LONG game, because as you stated, Refineries lead to Huge cargo holds, which leads to Pervasive Economy. Whether it is smart to so much as build 1 civic lab and do any economic research is a totally different question. I spent a bunch of time trying to do a cost analysis to help people -- most of which are probably playing single player epic length games.
So given there are a bunch of scenarios where you never build a refinery is irrelevant to your valid amortization concern (amortization of tech costs!), which you have since agreed was not an issue if you go up to Pervasive Economy.