US Gasoline Exports Surge, as Price Hits $3 for Memorial Day, $3.69 in California

US Gasoline Exports Surge, as Price Hits $3 for Memorial Day, $3.69 in California by Wolf Richter – Wolf Street

The US is a net exporter of gasoline, regardless of how much you pay at the pump.

The average price of gasoline in the US, across all grades and all formulations, rose to $3.00 a gallon, the EIA reported today just for Memorial Day weekend, when people are planning to burn up a lot of it. This is the highest weekly price the EIA has reported since November 2014. But it’s still a lot lower than just before Memorial Day 2014, when gas cost on average $3.74 a gallon.

In California, the average price of gasoline is now at $3.62, EIA data shows. Where we got gas in San Francisco, a gallon of regular already cost $3.75.

This is curious because I can watch fully loaded tankers sail through the Golden Gate into the Pacific. They’re loading gasoline at the refineries in the Bay-Area city of Richmond, and they’re heading mostly to Mexico and other Latin American destinations.

And gasoline exports from the US Gulf Coast have been surging for years. In 2017, gasoline exports rose to 821,000 barrels per day (b/d), equal to about 9% of US gasoline consumption, the EIA reported yesterday. And nearly half of these exports went to Mexico:

This surge in gasoline exports came despite record gasoline consumption in the US in 2017, which matched the record high set in 2016 of 9.3 million b/d.

How is that possible? The EIA: “Record-high refinery runs and historically high gasoline production supplied both record-high domestic consumption and increasing gasoline exports.”

In the past, gasoline imports by far exceeded tiny amounts of exports. But already in 2012, there were several months when exports exceeded imports for the first time. As exports continued to rise and imports continued to fall, the amount of net imports (imports minus exports) shrank further. In 2016, the US became a net exporter of gasoline for the first time, exporting more gasoline than it imported. This trend accelerated in 2017. The black line represents net imports:

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Wolf Richter

In his cynical, tongue-in-cheek manner, he muses on WOLF STREET about economic, business, and financial issues, Wall Street shenanigans, complex entanglements, and other things, debacles, and opportunities that catch his eye in the US, Europe, Japan, and occasionally China. WOLF STREET is the successor to his first platform… TP-Title-7-small-200px …whose ghastly name he finally abandoned in July 2014. Here’s the story on that. Wolf lives in San Francisco. He has over twenty years of C-level operations experience, including turnarounds and a VC-funded startup. He earned his BA and MBA in Texas and his MA in Oklahoma, worked in both states for years, including a decade as General Manager and COO of a large Ford dealership and its subsidiaries. But one day, he quit and went to France for seven weeks to open himself up to new possibilities, which degenerated into a life-altering three-year journey across 100 countries on all continents, much of it overland. And it almost swallowed him up.