Petroleum & Other Liquids

This Week in Petroleum

Release date: June 21, 2017  |  Next release date: June 28, 2017

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U.S. exports of crude oil and petroleum products rising, but trends vary across products

U.S. total crude oil and petroleum product exports more than doubled from 2.4 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2010 to 5.2 million b/d in 2016. While exports of distillate, gasoline, propane, and crude oil have all contributed to the increase, growth rates and market drivers for each product have varied during this period (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Monthly U.S. petroleum exports

Crude Oil

Restrictions on exporting domestically-produced crude oil were lifted in December 2015, and in 2016, the United States exported 520,000 b/d. U.S. crude oil exports reached 1.1 million b/d, the highest monthly level recorded to date, in February 2017. While Canada remains the largest destination for U.S. crude oil exports, its share of total U.S. crude oil exports has declined, dropping from 92% in 2015 (427,000 b/d) to 58% in 2016 (301,000 b/d). Other leading destinations for U.S. crude oil exports in 2016 included the Netherlands, Curacao, China, Italy, and the United Kingdom. In addition to export restrictions, the level of U.S. crude exports are sensitive to price differentials, shipping costs, and the level of domestic production. U.S. production fell through the first nine months of 2016, but rose at the end of 2016 and the first five months of 2017. In 2016, U.S. crude oil exports increased 55,000 b/d over 2015, but year-over-year growth in both 2014 (217,000 b/d) and 2015 (114,000 b/d) were considerably higher (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Year-over-year change in exports (2010 - 2016)


U.S. exports of distillate also experienced slower year-over-year growth rates compared with recent years. In 2016, the United States exported 1.2 million b/d of distillate, the country’s largest petroleum product export. Between 2010 and 2016, U.S. exports of distillate grew by 81% (534,000 b/d), but most of this growth occurred between 2011 and 2013. The largest destination for U.S. distillate exports is Mexico, averaging 182,000 b/d in 2016, followed by Brazil (125,000 b/d), and the Netherlands (108,000 b/d).


U.S. exports of total motor gasoline have increased by 126% (425,000 b/d) since 2010. The growth in gasoline exports took place while domestic consumption, as measured by product supplied, was also increasing. Mexico is the top destination for U.S. total motor gasoline exports and the volume of gasoline trade is significant to U.S. refineries. Over the past five years, U.S. exports to Mexico accounted for between 44% (2014) and 53% (2016) of total U.S. gasoline exports.


Unlike the recently slowing increases in U.S. exports of crude oil, distillate fuel, and motor gasoline, propane export growth has recently accelerated. Propane exports differ from other U.S. petroleum exports with respect to where they are shipped. Whereas most other U.S. petroleum exports stay in the Western Hemisphere, Japan and China are the top destinations for U.S. propane exports. Propane has many non-transportation sector end uses, including space heating, cooking, and as a petrochemical feedstock.

Additional information

The possibilities of this pace of growth continuing, the challenges each exported product face in the near future, and other questions, will be discussed at the upcoming EIA Energy Conference panel — Petroleum exports: Competing in the global market.

U.S. average regular gasoline and diesel retail prices fall

The U.S. average regular gasoline retail price fell five cents from the previous week to $2.32 per gallon on June 19, down 4 cents from the same time last year. The Midwest price fell seven cents to $2.18 per gallon, the Gulf Coast price fell five cents to $2.09 per gallon, the East Coast price fell four cents to $2.27 per gallon, the West Coast price fell three cents to $2.86 per gallon, and the Rocky Mountain price fell one cent to $2.41 per gallon.

The U.S. average diesel fuel price fell nearly four cents to $2.49 per gallon on June 19, 6 cents higher than a year ago. The Midwest and Gulf Coast prices each fell four cents to $2.41 per gallon and $2.33 per gallon, respectively, the East Coast price fell three cents to $2.54 per gallon, the West Coast price fell over two cents to $2.78 per gallon, and the Rocky Mountain price fell nearly two cents to $2.63 per gallon.

Propane inventories gain

U.S. propane stocks increased by 1.8 million barrels last week to 54.5 million barrels as of June 16, 2017, 25.0 million barrels (31.5%) lower than a year ago. Midwest, Gulf Coast, East Coast, and Rocky Mountain/West Coast inventories increased by 0.9 million barrels, 0.5 million barrels, 0.4 million barrels, and 0.1 million barrels, respectively. Propylene non-fuel-use inventories represented 5.1% of total propane inventories.

For questions about This Week in Petroleum, contact the Petroleum Markets Team at 202-586-4522.

Tags: Canada , China , crude oil , distillate fuel , exports/imports , gasoline , Japan , liquid fuels , Mexico , propane

Retail prices (dollars per gallon)

Retail price graphs
  Retail prices Change from last
  06/19/17 Week Year
Gasoline 2.318 -0.048 -0.035
Diesel 2.489 -0.035 0.063

Futures prices (dollars per gallon*)

Futures price graphs
  Futures prices Change from last
  06/16/17 Week Year
Crude oil 44.74 -1.09 -3.24
Gasoline 1.455 -0.047 -0.050
Heating oil 1.427 -0.004 -0.055
*Note: Crude oil price in dollars per barrel.

Stocks (million barrels)

Stock price graphs
  Stocks Change from last
  06/16/17 Week Year
Crude oil 509.1 -2.5 9.1
Gasoline 241.9 -0.6 4.2
Distillate 152.5 1.1 0.2
Propane 54.533 1.751 -25.028