SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Today's Why Guy question from Timmy Stevens: "Why does the U.S. export so much oil when we need it at home?"
When it comes to gasoline, the United States is like a busy intersection. Crude oil comes in and crude oil goes out. Some of it is refined and burned as gasoline here. The U.S. also ships some of its petroleum to as many as 180 other countries, primarily Mexico and Canada.
At the same time, Mexico and Canada, and in a typical year, Russia, will be shipping their petroleum here.
Andrew Lipow is a petroleum energy consultant.
"We import a lot, we export a lot, but we also produce domestically a lot," Lipow said.
Let's explore why the U.S. is importing and exporting so much of the product we need to run our own vehicles.
According to U.S. energy experts, large oil companies sell their products to a worldwide market. Most of what the U.S. produces comes from our gulf coast.
It often makes more sense for the refineries in the gulf to export some of their gasoline to Mexico, rather than expensively ship their product all the way to the east coast of the U.S., which gets cheaper gasoline from Europe.
So, in the big picture, the U.S. does sell its own oil overseas to the highest bidders — like an E-Bay auction — the net result is to keep global
oil prices down which keeps prices in the U.S. lower.
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