An earlier post drew attention to falling gasoline consumption as a potential harbinger of bad economic news, but there is a flip side to the issue. As Blake Clayton, a new energy blogger at the Council on Foreign Relations, a former Mead haunt, explains, falling domestic demand combined with a surge in foreign consumption and new oil sources coming on stream are contributing to a remarkable reversal in US net imports of petroleum products.Let’s not get carried away; the US is exporting refined petroleum products, but is still importing oil. Even so, this is big news, highlighting important trends in the American energy market and the economy as a whole.Regular Via Meadia readers know that the US is in the midst of a brown revolution that has the potential to create new jobs and make the global energy market more robust, but Clayton’s story takes us deeper. The efficiency of US refineries combined with our secure and ample supplies of oil makes the US a competitive player in the business.Export growth is key for a long term American recovery; refining a mix of domestically produced and imported crude oil and selling it on to world markets is a great business for the United States.The Keystone Pipeline controversy is about more than the immediate jobs at stake. It’s about whether the United States is smart enough and quick enough to seize an important economic niche. The pipeline, if built, will bring crude oil south for refining and in part for re-export. Getting this right is part of building an exporting platform and capacity that will help underwrite our prosperity for years to come.Our neighbors to the north have even more oil to produce, and, as we’ve pointed out, America’s refining capacity means the country can earn even more if we can transport it south.Republicans and Democrats need to get together and make this happen.