|SNow we turn to gasoline, where imports are
critical to meeting demand. This chart focuses on the increases in supply
from domestic refineries and from imports.
From 1998 to 2004, the increases in domestic production and imports
have been similar, each meeting about half of the growth in demand. As this chart shows, each source of supply
increased about 400 thousand barrels per day.
|SIncreases in imports are not necessarily bad
for consumers. In the last decade
gasoline imports have been very competitive in the U.S. gasoline market, as
demonstrated by the growth in gasoline imports compared to the increase in
supply from domestic refineries.
Suppliers have purchased imports even when U.S. refiners could have
increased production, because the price of those imports was more economic
than increased domestic production.