U.S. Energy Information Administration logo
Skip to sub-navigation

Energy & Financial Markets

What drives petroleum product prices?

Graphs & data updated monthly and quarterly

What drives petroleum product prices: Production

Refineries produce a wide range of petroleum products when processing crude oil. More complex refineries can upgrade some of the volume of heavier or lower-quality streams into more valuable products such as gasoline or distillate. Some refineries also have a degree of flexibility with respect to the volume of gasoline versus distillate produced. Price signals can influence short-term production decisions as well as long-term investments that may influence the type of petroleum product produced. Total production of refinery products increased starting in 2013 as U.S. refineries process more crude oil, invest in additional processing units to upgrade products, and expand into international markets. The net increase in production has been driven by large increases in motor gasoline and distillate, despite decreases in products such as residual fuel oil.

Gasoline typically makes up about half of U.S. refinery production
Updated: Monthly | Last Updated: 06/11/2024

Distillate is the second largest product produced by U.S. refiners
Updated: Monthly | Last Updated: 06/11/2024

Some refineries can modify the volume of gasoline and distillate produced
Updated: Monthly | Last Updated: 06/11/2024

Price changes can influence refinery production decisions
Updated: Annual | Last Updated: 12/31/2023
The distillate and gasoline futures price spread was calculated using an average of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd contract month future spreads during each year