http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-f ... 3907.story
U.S. fuel exports grow to historic levels
Energy experts say increased fuel exporting by U.S. refiners is one of the reasons that gasoline and diesel prices have been so high.
By Ronald D. White, Los Angeles Times
November 7, 2012
If you're wondering what happened to cheap U.S. fuel, look to Mexico, Canada and even OPEC member Venezuela.
U.S. refiners are selling diesel and gasoline to those and other countries at historically high levels, making the nation a net exporter of fuel for the first time since 1949, according to the Energy Department.
Such enthusiastic exporting is one of the reasons that gasoline and diesel prices have been so high, energy experts say. Consumer advocates see it as harming motorists because gallons exported aren't available to U.S. gas pumps.
But refiners defend the practice as a necessary profit booster that benefits suppliers, workers and shareholders, such as retirement funds.
The export flow includes California, where refinery problems recently left fuel supplies and production near five-year lows and brought a new record average of $4.671 for a gallon of regular gasoline.
The U.S. is "meeting demand for fuels on a worldwide basis today," said Thomas Munger, vice president of FuelQuest Inc., a Houston energy consulting firm. Countries with growing fuel demands, such as Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala and others, "want what has been perfected in the U.S. from a technology standpoint. That's the ability to make any and all grades of fuel."...
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