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

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:

Due to seasonality of demand for gasoline, the US had been a net importer of gasoline in the spring and summer months when domestic consumption peaks, and a net exporter in winter months when demand is lower. By 2017, as the above chart shows, net imports (black line) during those peak months were reduced to two little bumps above the zero line.

In terms of regions, there have been some big changes. The EIA:

Historically, the Gulf Coast (Petroleum Administration for Defense District, or PADD, 3) supplied refined products to other regions of the United States where demand exceeded supply, such as the Midwest (PADD 2) and the East Coast (PADD 1). The Midwest has reduced its need to draw supplies from the Gulf Coast in recent years because refineries are now running at higher rates and increased capacity, allowing them to meet in-region demand. The East Coast still relies on supplies from the Gulf Coast and remains a large net importer of gasoline.

Because of logistical and economic constraints on sending gasoline supplies from the Gulf Coast to other regions in the United States, the volumes of gasoline no longer demanded by the Midwest have become available for export.

The chart shows that the East Coast is a large net importer of gasoline, that the Gulf Coast is a large net exporter, and that the West Coast is a small net exporter.

The West Coast is an example of how globalized refining has become. There are no crude oil pipelines across the Rocky Mountains, and oil cannot be pumped from the oil producing regions east of the Rockies to the West Coast.

While California is a large oil producer, it produces substantially less than its demand from refiners. In the 1990s still, most of the oil shipped to California came from Alaska. But since then, the supply from Alaska has been shriveling, and California’s own production has been declining too. But foreign supply has surged.

By 2017, according to the California Energy Commission, California produced only 31% of its crude oil supply (down from 50% in 1997). Oil from Alaska dropped to just 12% of supply (down from 38% in 1997). But foreign-sourced oil surged to 57% of total supply (up from 12% in 1997), most of it from Saudi Arabia, Ecuador, and Colombia.

This shift is particularly interesting because total demand for crude oil in California has dropped 3% over those 20 years, even as the population has surged by 23% to nearly 40 million in 2017. This shows the impact of large-scale efforts at energy conservation in the state.

And so, when I see the tankers loaded up with gasoline sailing from the Bay toward other countries, even as our gas stations are cleaning out our wallets at the pump, I’m reminded that business is business, that these products are global commodities, and that supply follows the money.

The Transportation Boom is here, after the Transportation Recession. Read…  Freight Costs, Volume, Demand All Surge across Trucking & Rail, Inflation Fears Heat Up

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

  1. John Gerty says:

    What prices are Mexico, Central America and South America paying for finished petroleum products?

    This also reminds me of how wrong opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline was. Handling a difficult imported feed stock, in a mostly responsible manner, to provide finished petroleum products added to our export bottom line. Straight Adam Smith value added economics.

    Plus, Memorial Day weekend is always an opportunity to price gasoline at whatever the market will bear.

    • James Levy says:

      Wrong by what measurement? Morally and environmentally the damned thing was wrong. The idea that the one and only human value is money is a sickness, a disease that is making people miserable and despoiling the planet. Money is one among many human values. We’ve also got kindness, responsibility, justice, mercy, and solidarity, to name a few that have come up from time to time since agriculture was invented. My dad didn’t volunteer for the navy after Pearl Harbor because he thought it was a great way to maximize utility in the form of monetary gain. He did it because he thought America worth risking his life for. He didn’t imagine the Japanese marching down Flatbush Avenue and conquering Brooklyn. He thought a wrong had been done and it was up to him and men like him to make it right.

      • Javert Chip says:

        Nice SJW rant, but don’t see the relevance to, for example, the Keystone pipeline. We aren’t talking WWIIhere ; we’re talking crimped gasoline supplies.

        Some (how much?) of the price increase has to do with sanctions (disallowing use of USA’s SWWTF system) that the USA is about to impose on oil-exporting Iran

        • James Levy says:

          So, the mention of any value beyond monetary gain is ipso facto aproof of being a social justice warrior? The best you can do when someone says that their are other values than money is to hurl a cheap insult?

      • alex in san jose AKA digital Detroit says:

        James Levy – I’ve thought long and hard about these things and I think the root of the problem – and why the US, among first-world nations is consistently the one humming to itself and eating glue – is a sort of extreme individualism that developed as the country developed.

        There are some distinctly American ideas that, to people from real first-world nations as strange to out-right psycho. Like our custom of kicking children out to sink or swim at age 18 (only because it’s not legal to do it sooner). Some American parents even charge their kids for room and board once they start working, which sometimes is as young as 13 (mowing lawns, etc.) The idea that your wealth directly corresponds to your moral-ness. So if you are rich, it’s because you’re especially good, and if you’re poor, then you’re especially bad, and deserve your misery. The idea that everyone must be in competition with each other. Even to the point of family members competing with each other growing up, and then later as adults, for inheritances or even jobs.

        “F*ck you, I’ve got mine” is an American saying and it might as well grace many families’ coats of arms. (I have family members worth millions but if I needed their help, I’d do better asking strangers.)

        The idea is to have a completely atomized society, because single, scared, precarious workers are hard to organize.

      • Gandalf says:

        James Levy,

        You probably don’t realize that in lieu of the Keystone Pipeline, that same oil is getting shipped mostly by RAILROAD in oil cars. Railroads run through the center of towns (because the rail lines were originally built to be all purpose highways, to carry people also), and are just as likely if not more to get spilled. Because pipelines do not run through towns, shipping oil by pipeline is less likely to cause death and destruction than shipping by railroad. And pipelines consume less fuel to pump the oil through compared to locomotives.

        So, get a clue. Here, read all about it:

        Oil and gas are what fuels our modern economy, and will continue to do so for the next few decades no matter what fantasies you might hold about carbon-less clean energy being able to completely take over. And so the producers of oil will find a way to transport it from the remote fields to the refineries and from there to the consumers in the cities.

        • Joe Banks says:

          Well said Gandalf

        • cd says:

          the problem is that a cheap oil pipeline won’t help with the whole sand/shale crude production decline. Fracking the earth to squeeze oil out of it works at $120, not so much at 50..

          Higher gas costs are good, it will slow down the crazy big suv rage that is going on…

      • Colorado Kid says:

        Well spoken, James. Thanks.

    • juanfo says:

      Central America currently $6 gallon of gasoline.

  2. Robert_D says:

    We should be more like Europe. Obviously that opinion of mine will be unpopular. 20 years ago when I was paying under a buck, gasoline should have been taxed all the way up to $5.00 or so.

    Income taxes for lower-paid people could have been lowered by the excess federal revenue. Cars would be smaller, mega-monster-useless Pickup trucks, and SUVs, would be fewer in number and MUCH LESS HUGE. The Federal Deficit — I would hope — would be smaller.

    Pollution would be lower with smaller vehicles, and less driving, road wear would be less, and our oil stocks in ground would last decades longer.

    There is no appetite or constituency for such beneficial reform. Most commenters here will lambaste me, and call the reforms regressive, and not beneficial at all.

    CHEAP OIL IS A FINITE RESOURCE, and we are wasting it. We will need it for centuries in the future, not just decades, and it will have been wasted this century by massive American Egos driving Huge American Pickups and SUVs.

    Such a waste, such a waste.

    Humanity !

    • michael says:

      Perhaps you should move to Europe if you like it so much. You can have all the socialism you like.

      • endeavor says:

        We have plenty of socialism here but we call it taxpayer corporate subsides.

        • Javert Chip says:


          Well, really not so much. Electric cars: yes; wind farms: yes; solar panels: yes; “agricultural stabilization”: yes; ethanol: yes; retail home mortgage: more-or-less yes. I think that covers the majority of the true subsidies. Admittedly, in absolute terms, that’s a lot of money, but relative to the entire economy, nowhere near enough to qualify as socialism.

          Now I know hoards of righteous SJWs will. argue depreciation & amortization are also a socialist subsidies. As an old retired CFO, I enjoy watching people tie themselves up in knots defending this “position”.

      • Robert_D says:

        Perhaps I should vote for meaningful change and reform in America, since I like it here so well. Seeing as how we are a Democratic Republic, and my friends, family and I all have the vote . . . .

        • John Smith says:

          Meaningful change and reform in America? Come on, stop kidding around. The US is an oligarchy controlled by a relative few families and corporations and fools like Trump are just entertainment for the masses.The opioid epidemic, the health care mess, the gig economy, I could go on and on but I love seeing the sheeple get screwed repeatedly. They get exactly what they deserve.

        • Dan Romig says:

          John, I never have, nor will I ever vote for the two party Duopoly. But, unfortunately I also get the same treatment as the ‘sheeple.’

          You are spot on in your assessment of the US being a controlled oligarchy. However, I take no pleasure in watching the masses who believe there’s a real difference between the two political sides.

          While still in the political realm (which is contra to Wolf’s guidelines), but addressing the topic of gasoline consumption, the federal and state governments should not subsidize the purchase of Teslas. Nor should we have government mandated ethanol in the gasoline as we do by law in Minnesota.

        • Paulo says:

          Good points, Robert. I agree. Still, a problem/issue is one of refining. The US has excess refining capacity and companies need to export product to remain profitable/open. Shutting down refining to equal domestic consumption will only ensure more importing in areas where there is little to none refining….like Vancouver BC. :-)

          Wolf made a point worth noting. US is a net exporter only in gasoline, and other finished products. As for energy, itself, even with the current money losing shale bonanza :-) the US is still importing at least 25% of required petroleum, with 40% a recent norm.

          Canada exports 2X domestic energy consumption, and still imports finished products on both the east and west coasts, as well as Ontario. It is not worth the expense to construct more refining capacity as there is excess refining capacity in the World.

          Where I live on Vancouver Island, we pay the equiv. of $4.40 US per US gal for regular gasoline. In Vancouver it is approx. $5.00 due to extra transit taxes. This is taxation at work as mentioned above. I am pleased enough to pay this price and would not mind paying more. Above readers flippantly label it socialism, so be it. I call it universal single-payer health care, decent infrastructure, a good public school system across the Country, and a way to absorb the extra expenses of running a large country with a small population.

          In our house, nay for the entire extended family, vehicles driven are: Toyota Yaris, Corolla, two Toyota pickups, a Nissan Altima, and a Priius. My son uses an f-150 for work as an industrial electrician and keeps the vehicle on site in Alberta while living in BC.

          Crossovers seem pretty popular in town and the well off/show offs seem to favour Beemers and Land Rovers. My guess would be a resurgence in smaller vehicles as the high prices continue.


        • Javert Chip says:

          John Smith & Dan Romig

          Ok, so you feet the USA is controlled by an oligarchy, you know, like the Bushes, Roosevelts, Clintons, Rockefellers, Kennedy”s. NEWS FLASH: NONE OF THE OLIGARCH HAVE DONE WELL AT THE BALLOT BOX OF LATE.

          You may have missed this, but Trump (not liking him definitely does not make him an “oligarch”) lost the election to Hillary Clinton (an oligarch if ever there was one).

          Yes, I know she got more popular votes (so what?) – go read the Federalist Papers to understand how & why the electoral college was implemented.

          Just because one side lost the (last) election does not mea the world is coming to an end. Imagine how the other side felt at Obama’s election(s).

        • alex in san jose AKA digital Detroit says:

          I wish I’d known to vote with my feet and get the hell over to Germany or France when I was in my teens or 20s.

          Now I’m kind of stuck here so the best i can do is to do all I can to Socialize the place.

        • Dan Romig says:

          Javert Chip

          Yes, Trump was not part of the US politico power structure that could be defined as oligarchical when he was running for President. But if you look at the Cabinet members he has appointed, there’s a clear link to Goldman Sachs for example.

          “Just because one side lost the (last) election does not mea(n) the world is coming to an end.” is a true statement, as of course, life goes on. But it does reinforce my point that people believe there’s a real difference between either side of the duopoly.

          Wall Street, K Street lobbyists and to a lesser degree, the Koch brothers PACs have pulled the strings in DC from past to present, and in all likelihood, into the future too. Look at the Cromnibus Bill signed by Congress and President Obama in December 2014 with its banking derivatives legislation that was written by Citigroup as proof to this assertion please Javert.

      • Plumas One says:

        Michael, you don’t like socialism. Does that mean you don’t
        like socialist institutions..i.e. public library, public police,
        public fire department, public hospital, social security,
        medicare…institutions that are wildly popular in the US
        and that operate side-by-side with privately owned entities ?
        What would we do without them ?

        • Michael says:

          I don’t have any need for any of these either. Without them we would be less dependent and more self sufficient. Your servitude to the system is quite voluntary

        • wkevinw says:

          Legitimate functions of government does not equal socialism. The (minimum) items you think of in “uniform”, for example are legitimate: police/public safety, military. All the other items you mention are indeed some flavor of socialism.

          A skillful funding/support mechanism for these, as long as the polity has accepted them (e.g. Social Security/Medicare seems to have been accepted), is a necessary condition for success of these. We are not really there. “Saving” these by infinitely raising the fraction of the GDP devoted to them is not a sustainable answer.

          Note for those who think someplace other than the US is a good place to be, in general we’ll have to disagree. Take it from somebody who has been there (lived). For some folks, things would be better. For the average person just rolling the dice to move to the average “social democracy”- not so much.

          Do you like having progress in cures for terrible diseases, and similar difficult endeavors? If yes, you like the incubator of innovation that is the USA. No other place even comes close. (I invite you to do an internet search to find out about this). If you or a loved one have been cured of something like cancer, you can likely thank the US free market system.

        • Joe Banks says:

          Public libraries? No longer needed. Only good for people looking at pornography and homeless to take a shit in.
          Public Fire department? Ridiculous waste of tax payer money. Should be privatized.
          Public Hospital? Waste, waste waste
          Social Security? Not sustainable
          Public police? Ok I like this one

      • Frederick says:

        I did and it’s great

        • EMHO says:

          Hello Frederick, I could not reply to your question below. For some reason there is no reply button available.
          “EMHO there’s also a great wealth divide in the US ie the coastal elites versus everyone else Been to Alabama or Mississippi lately?”
          I am not sure what you mean with your question. If you mean that despite the great wealth divide the EU should be wealthier (according to GDP) due to larger population than I believe you are comparing apples with oranges. The East, e.g. Bulgaria, Romania suffered through communism in addition to having been devastated during WW2. That did not happen in the American South. Did I interpret your question correctly?
          Yes, I have been to the US Dallas, Las Vegas, Utah, New Orleans, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, both for holiday and work.

      • Cynic says:

        It’s very amusing observing what most Americans (both Left and Right) – after decades of corporate and state propaganda – believe to be ‘Socialism’.

        The propaganda has left you without both reasoning capacity, and historical knowledge.

        The chains of corporate crony, corrupt, capitalism look great on you, really, they do! :)

        PS I am NOT a Socialist.

    • Derek says:


      If we’d priced gasoline sanely, like Europe, we wouldn’t have stupid vehicles, suburbs, the whole unmaintainable doomed mess we spent the whole postwar era building.

      I’ve often thought the price of gas, plastics, and the like should be very high. A gallon of gas is equivalent to many, many years of sunshine.

      • Charles Ponzi says:

        One gallon of gas is equivalent to many, many years of the out put of the sun? Given the current cost of a solar array gasoline in therefore and incredible bargain. Long gas, short solar.

        • RD Blakeslee says:

          When it comes to exploitation of solar energy, storing it in the cellulose of firewood is an even better bargain than petroleum products, I think.

          We have heated our house with firewood, which the house was designed for and which the family built, saving us an average of about $2000 per year, as an alternative to heating oil or propane.

          41 years, $82,000.

          But I concede there’s not much interest in such old fashioned, picayune microeconomics, these days.

      • Javert Chip says:


        This is an example of how sanely Europe performs:

        Germany (and the rest of Europe) has suffered huge damage from VW’s admitted faked emissions tests and most major cities are surrounded by visible clouds of diesel air pollution.

        Germany (and the rest of Europe) have punished VW very lightly (if at all); Germany owns a big chunk of VW.

        The USA has also been defrauded and damaged (to a much lessor extent) by diesel air pollution. The USA has fined the crap out of VW and forced VW buy-backs of the diesel cars.

    • MaxDakota says:

      At least in Germany, the cost fueling one’s car leads to a fairly common obsession with diesel – almost every German I know drives diesel. So if we had adopted European gas prices long ago, that might also have led to more diesel use and even more emissions cheating. With the long distances we drive in the US, diesel actually makes a lot of sense as far as fuel efficiency.

      • alex in san jose AKA digital Detroit says:

        ‘DIESEL IST LAUT UND STINKEN” – seen spray-painted on a traffic signal box in Munich, mid-90’s. It should be pretty easy to understand, “diesel is loud and stinking”.

      • Gandalf says:

        Ugh, another myth about diesel engines.

        The biggest reason that most modern diesel engines are more fuel efficient is that they are designed to run at higher compression ratios and temperatures than gasoline engines. For a long time, they were exempt from air pollution rules, and they could do this with impunity.

        Gasoline engines can be engineered to be massively more fuel efficient that they are now also. Remember Honda’s CVCC engine of the late 70s and early 80s?

        50 mpg Civics were the norm back then!

        The problem is that getting that high mpg also involves increasing the compression ratios and operating at higher temperature also.

        Warbirds in WWII juiced their engines up even higher with superchargers which really pumped up the power. And they added water injection to keep the temperatures from getting too high (leading to early detonation).

        The problem is that running any internal combustion engine at its peak efficiency and temperature ends up also combusting the nitrogen in the air with oxygen also and you thus get various nitrogen oxides, e.g., the NOx that is the basic component of noxious smog and air pollution.

        NOx turns out to be very difficult to get rid of with pollution control equipment, because it is a terrific oxidizing agent and wants to unleash that oxidizing power and burn stuff up, like your lungs.

        Now, one way to get rid of the NOx from the exhaust is to simply recycle that NOx exhaust back and combine it with a spritz of good old FUEL, and voila, the fuel gets burned up and you get rid of your NOx. And your shiny super high EPA fuel efficiency plummets, because now you are using FUEL to reduce your NOx.

        So instead, the “good” German diesel manufacturers were using this urea additive AdBlue as a reducing agent to get rid of the NOx, while keeping their compression ratios and operating temperatures high, and still getting their shiny super high EPA mileage numbers. Great Marketing! Look at those high mileage numbers!
        Owners of course had to keep buying what was essentially piss to put into the environmental control systems of their diesel engines to keep them running clean. If they didn’t keep buying that AdBlue piss, their diesels would be spewing NOx.

        VW, of course, just faked the whole thing, and their diesels were spewing tons of NOx the whole time.

        Once the new air pollution mandates came out in the 1980s, gas engine car manufacturers quickly figured out that there was just NO WAY to run an internal combustion engine without producing tons of NOx other than to detune the whole engine, run it with richer fuel mixes, and at lower compression ratios and temperatures.

        And that is exactly what happened, and why Honda’s 50mpg Civics with the CVCC engines disappeared from the market.

        • Gibbon1 says:

          Everything you said here is pretty much true. The other issue with diesels are the particulates, bad. And the ‘unburned’ hydrocarbons are also bad. Unburned in scare quotes because they’ve been cooked and partially oxidized and are highly reactive.

          My take is in the US gasoline has been historically cheap and with significant domestically production, and thus air quality drives auto regulation. In Europe gasoline traditionally is expensive and imported (driving need to import dollars, which foreign countries _hate_). Thus a strong pressure to limit auto ownership and look the other way at diesel emissions.

          Interesting thing about California is the rapid uptake in Electric Vehicles. Starting with the upper middle class people that buy higher in semi-luxury cars.

    • Maximus Minimus says:

      Eh, a voice of reason in the wilderness? Too little, too late.

    • Lee says:

      “Federal Deficit — I would hope — would be smaller.”

      Ridiculous assumption.

      It doesn’t matter how much revenue goes up or how much taxes are increased, politicians will always find a way to spend more.

      If revenue increases by $1 they will spend $1.10 and complain that they don’t have enough money for ‘essential services’ such as health care or education.

      Taxes are increased to that $1.10 and then they’ll spend $1.25.

      Rinse and repeat. It never ends.

      • James Levy says:

        Usually correct, but then how to you explain the Clinton drive to a balanced budget circa 1999? it can be done.

        • GSH says:

          Easy. The Internet and the Y2K scare created a blow off top. Nothing to do with who was running the country. But the Clintons and the Republicans did do away with Glass Steagall then. Took just 7 years for the bottom to drop out.

      • alex in san jose AKA digital Detroit says:

        Lee – People forget that the Tea Party was originally a protest against the tax-and-spend policies of … Geo. W. Bush. We were supposed to mail tea bags to the White House.

    • TXRancher says:

      What’s with the pickup truck and SUV bashing? Maybe we should outlaw boats since that is obviously a waste of fuel resources purely for pleasure. Or outlaw RVs because surely you see how efficient they are. Or tax larger homes with their energy draw because we all know that they are not necessary. I think I saw a statistic once that one airplane trip across US pollutes more than 17000 cars in use for a full year. Outlaw air travel?

      An SUV is a must for larger families. Yes occasionally (or mostly) they are used without the family in tow. And pickup trucks are the only way to carry large items home. Not everyone lives an urban city lifestyle.

      Yes everyone has there own idea of wastefulness. That is what makes us human.

    • Javert Chip says:

      Your comparison of 1998 gas prices of $1.06 to 2018’s $3.00 (2018 gas 200% higher) is highly misleading & definitely not the basis of making the USA more like Europe (but feel free to go ahead & move there).

      20 years ago (1998) the average price of gas was $1.06; adjusted for 20 years of inflation (53%) that’s $1.62 in 2018 dollars (compared to “normal” 2018 price of $2.25). Additionally, over the 20 years, USA cars & light-truck fleet MPG has improved about 12%.

      NOTE: I’m assuming a “normal” 2018 gas price of $2.25, not the current spike to $3.00.

      In summary, 1 gallon of 1998 gas ($1.06) priced in 2018 dollars ($1.62) will take you as far as 0.88 gallons of 2018 gas, and will cost $2.25*0.88=$1.98 in 2018 dollars @ 2018 fleet average mpg. THAT’S A 22% (not 200%) INCREASE IN 2018 INFLATION-ADJUSTED COST TO DRIVE THE SAME DISTANCE AS IN 1998.

      If you value freedom & control of your own destiny, you might look at Europe’s materially reduced national sovereignty (citizens don’t get to vote for any of the multiple “EU presidents”); unlike USA banks, most European banks require frequent huge infusions of taxpayer money; (remember Monte Peschi de Siena?); Europe cannot defend itself militarily (dependant on USA for last 75 years); and look what Europe just did to Greece (no longer really a 1st world country).

      In 2018, the EU, with population 60% larger than the USA, has a GDP that’s 80% of the USA (and USA growing much faster). We won’t even talk about quality of colleges…

      • EMHO says:

        I am glad you got your rant out of your system.
        The EU is very democratic-more so than the US or UK- I directly elect my MEP to Parliament, the EU Council is made up of heads of state (elected directly or indirectly by their citizens). No first past the post or House of Lords (UK), or Gerrymandering as in the US.
        Yes, the commission is appointed, but by consensus of Council/Parliament. Commission is, by the way, the Bureaucracy and executes the policy decisions of Council/Parliament. Commissioners are like ministers, Presidents like Chief Minister( i.e. Juncker); Council Presidents rotate each year, and is Head of State of a member country.
        There is a great wealth divide between Western and Eastern Europe, which skews data in favor of US.
        International university rankings are based on perception and fame of the university, not necessarily their quality, e.g. Chinese students perceive US/UK uni higher because of their international fame and common language-English!
        Best regards from Europe.

        • EMHO says:

          I forgot to mention that the USA has not defended Europe-ever. People like myself have done so, I was drafted in the late 90’s and served in the German army. The only country that ever needed “defending” was the USA when it invoked Article 5 of the NATO treaty. French, German and many other Europeans have fought and died for you in Afghanistan.
          Also, France alone spends almost as much on defense in 2017 as Russia did! Germany, with all its military equipment trouble/mismanagement spends nearly as much as France does. So, yes we are defending ourself – and you too.
          P.S. The EU is very popular in Greece, the fault for the countries troubles has been given to Greek politicians by the Greek citizens!

        • Frederick says:

          EMHO there’s also a great wealth divide in the US ie the coastal elites versus everyone else Been to Alabama or Mississippi lately?

        • ZeroBrain says:

          EMHO – What do you mean the USA never defended Europe? We’re defending you *right now* in Syria. We’ve been arming those Syrian rebels since at least 2012 and you’re enjoying the the benefit of all that cheap and productive refugee labor. Cheerio.

        • EMHO says:

          ZeroBrain: Thank you for sending us all the refugees that have helped to destabilize Europe and put incredible strain on our social fabric. In the long term, those that remain in Europe certainly will become an great asset. However, the process of integration and education is emotional stressful, time consuming and expensive.
          Thank you for blowing up the Middle East with your regime change operations and war crimes-with help from UK and France (think Lybia). Sorry, I believe when you do it, it is called collateral damage!
          And yes, we do defend ourself and you as well. There is more to security than starting wars and blowing things up.
          P.S. There are currently British, Belgian, Dutch, French, and yes German troops (air force, special operations) operating in Syria alongside US forces! In particular in the Kurdish and eastern steppe regions.
          So again we are very much defending ourself.
          Finally, I keep reading and hearing that you have the best military in the world. If that is the case, why have you not won a war nice 1945? And no, quitting, as in Gulf War 1, does not count, even though Bush Senior made the right decision not to topple Saddam.
          “The Best” do not have to boast about being the best!

    • Silly Me says:

      More taxes would finance only more wars…

    • Gene says:

      I agree completely. It’s been apparent for several decades that the federal government has been subsidizing the price of gasoline. I remember back in the 1960s I often saw a price in the Midwest of 31 9/10 cents. Escalate that to the present time and we should be well over $5.00 a gallon. The problem is that the environmental long term costs have never been factored in. If gasoline were realistically priced, then we would not have so many large fuel inefficient vehicles on the road, presenting a hazard to those who drive smaller fuel efficient vehicles. Maybe our foreign policy might be less interventionist also, but I think we’d have found some excuse to colonize the Middle East regardless.

    • EMHO says:

      I paid the equivalent of US $6.30 on Friday in my home district of Hochtaunuskreis near Frankfurt. This is expensive, and even though I complain about this high cost, I pay it willingly, because the tax revenue is used for the common good.
      My family and I have an excellent public transit system, beautiful and clean forest and mountains to hike/bike in, much lower air/water pollution.
      I looked at TripAdvisor for reviews of my transit system which I use daily during the week. It has very good reviews.
      Whatever is important to you, you must pay for it. You get what you pay for.

  3. Charles Ponzi says:

    Not to worry when Trump decades NAFTA dead Mexico will source its gasoline elsewhere. Then all will be free to fill their tanks. Unfortunately replacement parts will be scarce and fresh produce exorbitantly expense, but what the hey gas will be plentiful. Enjoy your ride.

  4. Ambrose Bierce says:

    Traffic in CA is off the map. Some take it to mean improved economic activity. I always wonder what do people find to talk about on their cellphones all day, well unlimited minutes may provide the incentive. Auto lease incentives are generous. Talking, driving, its all the same thing. (non productive obsessive behavior)

  5. Prairies says:

    So it’s a no to foreign cars(25% tariff bluff), and a yes to foreign oil. Watch prices really climb if the nativist banter aims at the imported oil with similar threats.

    • Bobby says:

      Is it safe to say most of the smaller cars are foreign cars. If Trump increases the tariffs, energy use would be going up with preferences for US larger vehicles, unless Tesla pulls off a miracle.

      • Delikon Threetree says:

        Teslas are turning out to be time bombs because of the batteries. Tesla will be the next DeLorian.

      • Prairies says:

        Tesla is a nothing burger. Look towards Chevy and Ford. The President of GMC Dan Ammann mentioned on the weekend they want a future with 3 zeros – 0 emissions, 0 deaths and 0 traffic congestion. Will this be a reality, not any time soon but it is at least a goal by a company capable of producing vehicles for consumers. Something Tesla struggles with every day.

  6. Sporkfed says:

    Higher gas taxes would have lowered demand
    decreasing the price of supply stayed constant.
    It also would have reduced the influence of
    OPEC on the world stage while hopefully spurring innovation. Swapping a higher gas tax
    for lower income or payroll taxes would have been a masterstroke in tax policy.

  7. Mean Chicken says:

    It seems hypocritical that California is doing it’s part in providing emerging markets with fossil fuel derivatives as opposed to denying them access.

    • Ambrose Bierce says:

      It has to do with regional trade zones. These ideas come and go, CA is part of the Pacific Rim, and that by extension includes parts of South America. In SA there are a great number of dual use LP/CNG cars. CA gets produce from SA, and while immigration laws seem hypocritical they do work to bring up their standard of living which is something no border fence is going to do.

  8. sierra7 says:

    Today, May 25 close the oil mkt on Marketwatch oil dropped several dollars ahead of the Memorial Weekend!?
    And, in the Central Valley of CA reg gas $$3.59-69…….
    I remember when I was still sailing the SF Bay back during the ’74-75 gas crisis we would see multiple loaded fuel tankers parked all over the South Bay (south of the Bay Bridge) and then having to get gas for work the next day and standing in line…….
    Thx again for an informative writing Mr. Wolf.

    • Javert Chip says:

      You saw the oil tankers lined up because Richmond is one of the few refineries on the west coast. It was producing petroleum products (including gasoline) for a large chunk of the USA, not just for guys sailing in SF bay.

      One of the reasons CA gas is so expensive is CA regulators require many (don’t know exact number; when I lived there, I believe the number was well in excess of 60) different blends of gasoline to reduce pollution in CA’s many micro-climates, depending on the micro-climate.

      If gasoline runs out in micro-climate A, gas from micro-climate B cannot be substituted. The SF Bay Area probably has over 30 micro-climates.

      • Wolf Richter says:

        There’s a summer blend and a winter blend for each grade (regular, premium, etc.), but not for each micro-climate.

        As I said, California is NOT connected via pipeline to the producing regions of the US. In other words, California is isolated from the rest of the US in terms of crude oil supply, and it doesn’t matter what WTI is priced at because CA doesn’t get WTI. So the pricing dynamics are different. And there are the transportation costs too.

        Then there’s the oligopoly of refiners, all of which belong to a few major brands, such as Chevron. There are no independent refiners.

        Of the 10,000 gas stations in California, less than 15% are independents. So less competition than in many other states. And those independents have to buy their gas from the big-brand refiners.

        And on and on. There are many structural reasons why gas is more expensive in California. So it’s a bit more complicated.

  9. Lune says:

    I don’t mind exporting of refined products like gasoline. Oil refineries provide tons of good paying blue collar jobs. I’d rather those jobs go to Americans than other countries, even if that means some amount of pollution from the refining process is borne here.

    What I do object to is allowing the export of raw resources like lifting the old ban on natural gas exports. Yes, thanks to shale, we have the cheapest NG in the world. We should tell people if they want to use that resource, they need to build their factories here. We would sacrifice a few jobs in the NG industry in exchange for many more jobs in refining and energy-intensive industries that would site their plants here because the cheap energy offsets the higher wages and regulations we have. Instead we’ve done the opposite, thanks to oil industry lobbying.

  10. Debt Free says:

    The recent rise in oil prices is not a surprise given the Trump regime’s belligerent posturing towards Iran, Russia, Syria and Venezuela. If oil prices cause a global recession, fault will lie at the feet of Trump, John Bolton, Nimrata Haley, Mike Pompeo, Bibi Mileikowsky and AIPAC lobbyists.

    • Javert Chip says:

      Appeasement didn’t work for Neville Chamberlain and I doubt it’d work for you.

      • Debt Free says:

        Belligerence didn’t work for Napoleon Bonaparte and I doubt it’d work for you.

        Gonna join the military, bro?

  11. DK says:

    It’s always something

  12. Scott says:

    Hasn’t the East Coast of the U.S. been importing gasoline and other refined products for a long time? Most of the volumes that we have in New England comes from refineries in Montreal and the Maritimes, and my guess is that in places like upstate New York is similar.

  13. raxadian says:

    When fracking finally dies due to costs, then gasoline prices will really get high, not this pitance you guys are complaining about right now.

    Wind and solar ernergy are getting cheaper and cheaper, in just a few years they will be the cheapest source of energy.


  14. Tristan says:

    Anwar, FTW. …Drill, baby, drill!

  15. Tristan says:


  16. Cynic says:

    R D Blakeslee

    I was out this morning at dawn, with my bird dog, collecting dead hardwood for the Winter.

    Axe, saw: a man’s proper tools.

    Regards from Europe!

  17. Daryl Greco says:

    It’s too cheap. It should be the same price as Canada and western Europe. Americans continue to over indulge in the worlds finite resources while polluting the air and water we drink and breathe. SUV’s should be illegal in states like Florida that are flat.

    • raxadian says:

      Well they do have one of the the worst and most expensive health care in the world, waste way more money than needed on the military, their public education quality has been going down the drain and so on. But everything is okay as long as fuel is cheap right?

    • Javert Chip says:

      Fortunately we are blessed with unelected guys like you who have strong desires to tell the other 324,999,999 of us how we should live.

  18. Heinrich Leopold says:

    To put this in the right perspective, US refineries have sold large quantities of gasoline from their inventories over the last few months. As inventories are now depleted, the US became a large net importer again, importing a net 700 k bpd, if gasoline blending components are included, net US gasoline imports stand as of last week at a whopping 2 mill barrels per day – a near alltime record.
    Surprisingly US shale production cannot deliver on transportation fuels as shale oil is octane poor and contains no middle distillates. So, the situation becomes even alarming. No, wonder US authorities had to ask OPEC to turn on the taps.

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