From refinery to consumer

U.S. refineries make gasoline and other petroleum products from crude oil and other liquids produced in the United States or imported from other countries. Nearly all of the gasoline sold in the United States is produced in the United States.

From refineries, most gasoline moves by pipeline to large storage terminals near consuming areas. From the storage terminals, gasoline is usually sent by truck to smaller blending terminals for processing into finished motor gasoline and then delivered by truck to gas stations.

Gasoline is sent through shared pipelines where commingling occurs

Gasoline and other petroleum products are sent through shared pipelines in batches. These batches are not physically separated in pipelines, and some mixing or commingling of products occurs. Because this mixing occurs, the gasoline and other products must be tested as they leave pipelines to see if they still meet required specifications. If the products fail to meet local, state, or federal specifications, they are sent back to a refinery for further processing.

A graphic illustration showing the flow of imported crude oil from the tanker to the gas station.

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration (public domain)

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Can customers find out which country or state the gasoline at a location station comes from?

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) cannot identify the origin of gasoline sold at fueling stations. The gasoline a company sells is not necessarily produced by that company.

Gasoline brands get mixed during shipment

Gasoline is sold at over one hundred thousand retail outlets across the nation, and many are unbranded dealers that may sell gasoline produced by different companies. Branded stations may not necessarily sell gasoline produced by its own refineries. Gasoline from different refineries is often combined for shipment through pipelines, and different companies that own service stations in the same area may purchase gasoline at the same bulk storage and distribution terminal.

The only difference between the gasoline at one company’s fueling stations and the gasoline sold by another company is the small amount of additives that some companies put in the gasoline before it gets to their fueling stations.

Crude oil also gets mixed at the refinery

Even if EIA could determine the origin of the gasoline sold at fueling stations, the source of the crude oil and other liquids used at refineries may vary. Most refiners use a mix of crude oils from various domestic and foreign sources. The mix of crude oils can change based on the relative cost and availability of crude oil from those sources.