Drilling The Big GOP Lie: The US Exports More Gasoline Than It Imports

The Republican Party seems to think Americans are stupid and will not dig into the “facts” that they spew. This is especially the case with oil drilling, exploration and so called energy independence.

The Republicans have told the American people that we need to drill for more oil, build refineries and build pipelines all in the name of energy independence. Yet as CNBC pointed out in December of 2011, the United States is EXPORTING more refined fuel, gasoline, than it imports for the first time in 50 years.

“For all refined petroleum products, the U.S. in the first 10 months of 2011 exported 848 million barrels and imported 750 million. Lipow said he believes this if the first time since World War II that the U.S. will be a net exporter of refined petroleum products, but government data on the EIA website only goes back to 1973.”

So, why are gas prices increasing across this country? Why are we still at about $3.30 a gallon when we are exporting more now than we did under Reagan, Bush, Clinton or Bush Jr.? We were told by the Republicans that drilling a refining will decrease the cost of oil and bring us to energy independence.

I have reported before, that oil is sold on the global market. This includes oil drilled and extracted here in the United States. Every drop of oil is sold on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, so if we increase oil production in this country, the ONLY people that benefit are the sellers of the oil. Rather than selling 1 million barrels a day, they end up selling 1.5 million barrels a day. It doesn’t decrease the cost of oil or gas.

In the CNBC report it stated, that the U.S. exported 1.07 million barrels a day of distillates, which includes diesel fuel, double the 557,000 barrels two years ago and up from last year’s 870,000 barrels.

Once again, under the so called oppressive Obama regulations, production has increased, just like under ObamaCare hiring increased dramatically in the healthcare industry. The lies and misinformation on the right rely on American ignorance.

The ONLY real solution to reduce our dependence on foreign oil is to increase energy efficiency, like the light bulb law, and green technology. Increasing oil production only increases the wealth of oil barons and speculators. While we are at it, all oil produced in America should be only for the American economy. Once all oil needs are met at home, then we should export our excess.

Image: Mario Piperni

42 Replies to “Drilling The Big GOP Lie: The US Exports More Gasoline Than It Imports”

  1. The article gives the impression that we produce a surplus of gasoline in the U.S. While our refineries may have produced more gasoline than we used domestically, the crude oil used to produce the gasoline that we export is imported. We are still the world’s largest importer of petroleum, or crude oil — the flammable liquid that is refined to make various fuel products.

  2. Why do we export oil domestically produced? Because the oil companys can sell it for higher prices overseas

  3. Actually, the Republican Party hopes that enough Americans are stupid and will not dig into the “facts” they spew. According to many of the people I’ve been talking to lately, they are right.

    Thanks for a very informative article.

  4. Whatever benefits the GOP’s pockets, they will make it seem like a good deal…

  5. The oil (for the most part) isn’t domestically produced. But the big oil companies run refineries here. So our oil companies import oil, refine it into gasoline (and other products) and then sell it on the world market. The fact that less gas was bought by the US than by the rest of the world just says we’re using less gas because of a slow economy and improvements in automobile fuel economy.

    I’m as liberal as they come, but this article really needs to be corrected. It’s giving readers the false impression that we’re a net exporter of oil and we absolutely aren’t.

  6. We export oil AND gas. Why do we EXPORT oil? Will drilling for more oil be used domestically? The answer is no. It will be sold on the global market. The amount we drill will also have ZERO impact on the supply and demand equation also.

  7. I wish I could favour your reply, this has been the problem for thirty plus years. There needs to be a fine to sell the free oil they get from the US, for a profit to others….. screw Capitalism….it is screwing us.

  8. This also clearly explains why they’re pushing for the big oil pipeline.

    It’s to get Canadian crude to the world market, rather than to US refineries and lowering the cost of gas for us (a major and painful expense for the poor).

    We need more efficient vehicles (no more “Bigger and BADDER!”), better lights (the LED lights will make a huge difference once the cost comes down and the quality improves), solar and alternate energy, and alternate fuels for vehicles (NOT ethanol from corn). In the meantime, until we harness and muzzle Big Business and get them to work for the world’s good instead of increasing the wealth of the 1%, there are things we can do that will help the situation – like slowing down and driving a lot more gently.

  9. Ray,

    I agree with a lot of what you’ve got to say in this article. Repubs spew a lot of nonsense and lies about drilling more in the US. But the fact is, we are the world’s largest importer of oil.

    It’s true that any oil pumped out of the ground in the US would just get sold on the world market, so it’s not going to knock down the price of oil (or gas) much. And who would own those US wells? The oil companies, not you and me. So do they want to see the price of oil drop? Of course not. So is it a Republican lie that drilling more oil in the US would reduce gas prices? Yes. (might have a negligible effect, but the oil cos are in biz to make money, and they won’t do that if they sell gas in the US below world market prices)

    But this is all a very different thing from suggesting that we are not dependent on foreign oil.

    Billions and billions of US dollars get poured into Islamo-facist regimes to pay for our profligate use of oil. This is bad. It’s our oil money that supports the nut job sharia law-loving, hate-America-the-great-satan crowd. The American consumer who won’t take conservation seriously and the oil companies that block alternative energy production are ultimately funding the folks who make the IEDs.

    Finding environmentally responsible ways to reduce our dependence on foreign oil — like alternative energy, please, not fracking — would be a huge help to us and the world (but not the oil companies and not the radical Islamists), economically and politically.

  10. Ok, go back to the same link you just posted here and select “Imports” and “United States.” You’ll see that we imported 10x what we exported.

    The export figures you posted include both oil and refined oil products. We’re importing lots of oil, refining it, gobbling it up like mad, and selling back whatever refined products that we don’t use.

  11. Then by that statement drilling more will do nothing, we have an oil, glut, Sarah Palin is insane

    We export raw oil as well. The keystone pipeline is specifically for that purpose. take oil from the midwest where it is refined and used, to Texas for sale overseas at a higher selling price. Tidy profit for Exxon et al

  12. Jnet,
    We import oil, but my point is this. Drilling for more oil WILL NOT decrease our dependence on foreign oil. It will just INCREASE the amount Exxon sells around the world.

    I say pay Exxon to drill and extract the oil but the oil is the American people’s NOT the oil company’s.

  13. It would also be helpful if Congress disappointed all those porky Texas congressmen by eliminating the corporate-tax-free status of the export zones like Port Arthur Texas. That might “encourage” Shell, Exxon, BP, etc. to sell USA drilled oil to USA distributors after it’s refined in USA refineries. An if they don’t cooperate, nationalize the industry.

  14. Okay while I agree that this author might have been a bit loose in his handling of this situation, what I disagree with is the misuse of stats in the response to the article. Here is my favorite:

    The fact that less gas was bought by the US than by the rest of the world just says we’re using less gas because of a slow economy and improvements in automobile fuel economy.

    If this reverse in trade statistics that has stood in place since the 1970s was really due to economic trends, then why would this trend not have occurred in 2009 when the USA was at the depths of its economic recession following a failed Republican administration?

  15. To me,it just seems silly to put food in our gas tanks while there are millions of people around the world starving.

  16. The overheated rhetoric aside, the export of refined petroleum products is probably good for the US. Foreign export earnings contribute to the nation’s wealth, purchases of foreign perishables like fuels don’t.

    As the US becomes greener and diversifies its energy sector, we can expect this trend to continue, dropping US petroleum consumption will provide more and more distillates for US refiners to sell to overseas purchasers.

    It is important that the US take steps to assure both that petroleum based fuel consumption drops and that US refineries produce a growing share of the fuels, plastic and other products derived from petroleum.

    This is a happy occurance when we might be able to eat our cake and have it, too.

  17. It is not a bad thing to import crude oil, refine it and sell the products. That adds value and is the basis of economic development.

    It is not at all the same thing as importing oil and then burning it sitting in automotive gridlock.

  18. US domestic oil drilling will always be pricey. Our oil comes from off shore wells, from inaccessible and more and more from tapping and pumping old wells that still have some crude in them.

    All of these methods are way expensive methods of extracting crude. US production could well make us more energy independent, cut our funding to repressive oil regimes and eliminate some bottle-necks, but it is unlikely to bring down retail prices as long as oil can be drilled so much more cheaply overseas.

  19. Nothing wrong with selling refined oil products, fuels,solvents and plastics overseas. It is known as commerce- the only noncoercive form of economic exchange ever devised.

  20. Most US refineries are located in east Texas and Louisiana, the southern terminus of the Keystone oil pipeline. Are you actually suggesting the producers put the pipeline there instead of in British Colummbia to by-pass American refineries, transport the crude to foreign countries to refine it there and then ship the distillates back to the US gulf coast oil ports for distribution and sales?

  21. in and of itself there is nothing wrong with selling refined oil products. You are absolutely correct. However, when a particular political party is constantly saying that drilling more will reduce our dependence on oil, excuse me foreign oil, then it is not factual. That is the complaint. If we are short on oil, short on refineries space and short on gas should we be allowing gas to be sold?

  22. most of the Keystone oil is used in the Midwest and refined in the Midwest. The purpose of the pipeline all away down the Texas or Louisiana is simply to refine that oil and sell it for a higher price overseas. If it bypasses the Midwest it will raise the price of oil in the Midwest

  23. Ethanol from corn is such a bad idea, one almost wonders if the Bush administration pushed it to embarrass bio-mass supporters.

    Petrol provides an energy output to input ratio of about 30 to one and is the best fuel for the power produced we have.

    Corn based ethanol provides an energy output to input ratio of about 2 to one which means almost half as much energy must be expended in producing it compard to what it produces.

    In addition, the use of corn for ethanol disrupts the food supple for Mexico and other less developed countries putting the global poor at risk of hunger.

    Better as fuel is ethanol derivide from cellulose which is produced by various grasses and algae. These give farmers a greater variety of crops to sell, cut down the use of chemical fertilizers and bring the energy in/out ratio up to around 15 to one.

  24. A) We can’t: the economic cost it too high and we don’t have the reserves
    B) We shouldn’t: the environmental cost is too high (BP oil spill?!)

    What we need is more solar/wind energy and conservation.

  25. Ray, I’m on your side about increasing crude oil production in the US not having an impact on the price of gas. But you’re not making any sense on this oil export idea. Like I said above, click on the link you posted above. The barrels/day oil exports # you’re using includes refined products like gasoline. It doesn’t say how much crude oil is included in our exports, but it stands to reason that it’s probably very little if not nothing. Then on the same page, click “United States” and “Imports.” What you’ll see is that we import far more oil than we export.

    1. Would domestic drilling drive down the price of gas, like the Repubs say? No. This is nonsense. It’s nonsense because gas is sold on a world market, and the gas doesn’t belong to you and me, it belongs to the folks who make it and sell it.
    2. But does the fact that US occasionally sells more gasoline to other countries than we use domestically mean that we are a net oil exporter? No way. Actually, we produce about 8.3 million barrels of crude oil/day domestically, but we consume 19.4 million barrels/day.
    3. Would it be a great thing to reduce our dependence on foreign oil by increasing development of alternative, clean energy alternatives? Absolutely. Our dependence on imported oil is not good from an economic/political standpoint. And our consumption of this much oil is not good from an environmental standpoint. The Repub’s focus is all wrong. Instead of trying to do things to drive down the price of gas and oil, we should be developing alternatives.

  26. The Middle East has 10 coconut trees. The US has 1 coconut tree. The US imports a bunch of coconuts and then exports more refined coconut juice than it consumes. We are not a net exporter of coconuts.

  27. (1) it’s not efficient.
    (2) it severely drives up the cost of food (demonstrated). People have starved because of the increase in the price of food tied to the push for fuel ethanol (and rioted over the increase).
    (3) it encourages monoculture farming of a crop that is susceptible to diseases – endangering one of the primary food staples of the world.

    If they used the STALKS and cobs of the corn, and a way to generate ethanol from cellulose, then running ethanol wouldn’t be so much of a problem (although it is hell on gaskets and seals) – because people and animals eat the grain. A much better solution would be to run biodiesel. They’ve already got many of the problems ironed out with that approach.

    I don’t know if they have found a way to convert cellulose to biodiesel, but knowing a tiny bit about the process, it wouldn’t surprise me if it could be done fairly easily.

    They also have been working on ways to generate hydrogen using the sun. If that can be done efficiently, then hydrogen would be a great energy source. Highly efficient, generates only steam when burned, light in weight, and renewable. Storage problems have even been at least partially worked out, the only problem with hydrogen is a misconception regarding safety (The Hindenburg did not burn because of hydrogen – the builders literally – and unwittingly – coated the thing in rocket fuel/thermite!)

  28. As I understand it, the path for the Keystone pipeline doesn’t go to the refineries, but to a major port so the oil can be shipped overseas.

    The high cost of gas, btw, is partially due to profits and not so much the cost to produce/refine/transport (or payment to foreign countries). All of the big oil companies are making offensive profits off of us… I don’t remember the exact figures, but their profit margins (based on some international figures I encountered) are running about 30%.

    That means at least a third of the price of gas is pure profit. Which goes into the pockets of the rich.

    Just thinking about it makes my blood boil. I can barely put food on the table or afford to keep the lights lit, and a significant chunk of what I pay to try to work or find a job goes into the pocket of some lazy snobbish good-for-nothing rich person.

  29. The reason we are exporting gasoline is simple and verifiable: the economy is sinking like a rock and people are driving less. Therefore we have an overstock of gasoline which is more profitable to ship overseas than to have it sit in storage.

  30. Seeing how it’s finished product they are exporting and the money is made of the services of refining the product, I would venture to guess this actually LOWERS the price that American’s have to pay because the oil companies can make money off of refining and selling that finished product off of other sources rather than domestic

  31. it actually raises the price. Because it restricts how much fuel stays here in the United States of they can control the price at a higher rate. at the same time they can scream we need to drill baby drill

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