In the Boston Globe (10/12/2012), Congressman Ed Markey noted that gasoline prices are increasing (8 percent), while crude oil prices have declined (7 percent) during the past four weeks. He wants the Federal Trade Commission to determine whether price gouging can account for increasing gasoline prices.
The U.S. Department of Energy attempted to assure motorists that the price of gasoline and its export were unrelated (i.e., the law of supply and demand does not apply in this case). “The growth in U.S. gasoline exports does not necessarily mean higher pump prices for U.S. consumers. Rather, export markets are providing an outlet for refiners that might otherwise have faced lower profit margins that could encourage them to reduce output or possibly even shutdown, which could cause gasoline prices to increase.”
The graph below depicts U.S. exports of finished gasoline to the world market. Notice that from the early 1960s until the early 1980s there was practically no export of gasoline. The export curve began to ramp up from around 1988 and then flattened from the mid 1990s until 2008, where it increased nearly exponentially up to present time.
All U.S. exports of finished gasoline
Fifty eight percent of U.S. finished gasoline exports are delivered to Mexico. It is noteworthy that 78 percent of all gasoline imports to Mexico are from the United States. Thus, Mexico is highly dependent upon its neighbor for finished motor gasoline, most notably due to a 77 million-barrel/day shortfall of Mexican production.
This dependency on gasoline from the United States is due in great measure to the starkly declining Mexican proved reserves as indicated by the following graph. Notice that Mexican crude oil reserves peaked around 1990 at nearly 55 billion barrels and have declined to about 10 billion barrels at 2011.
Mexican proved crude oil reserves
Conclusion: Petroleum products are traded on the world market. Energy companies will always seek the best price, either at home or abroad for their products. Ever increasing exports of finished motor gasoline will decrease supply at home and cause price increases. Consequently, conservation of fossil fuels (i.e., a non renewable resource) will never happen in the United States based on business as usual (i.e., ever increasing sales to satisfy share holder desire for even greater profits).Tags: Export Gasoline, High Cost Gasoline, Mexican Gasoline Imports, Mexican Peak Oil, Mexican Proved Oil Reserves, Peak Oil, U.S. Exports Petroleum Products