2014 marked the 13th consecutive year that exports of refined American petroleum products grew, setting a remarkable record and adding another tally to fracking’s list of accolades. The EIA reports:
U.S. exports of noncrude petroleum products from the United States averaged a record 3.8 million barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2014, an increase of 347,000 bbl/d from 2013, based on data from EIA’s Petroleum Supply Monthly. In particular, exports of motor gasoline, propane, and butane increased, offsetting a decrease in distillate exports.
[T]he combination of record-high U.S. refinery runs (which averaged 16.1 million bbl/d in 2014) and increased global demand for petroleum products allowed U.S. petroleum product exports to increase for the 13th consecutive year.
While U.S. producers can’t export crude thanks to a ban dating back to the 1970s, they can—and do—export refined petroleum products. With plenty of crude flowing to American refineries from shale formations across the country, there’s an abundant supply of refined products being sold abroad.
And just as exports of these products have increased for the 13th year in a row, petroleum imports are dropping precipitously. Five years ago those imports counted for more than two-fifths of the American trade deficit; now, they make up less than 20 percent of it.
The U.S. trade deficit grew last year, but it would’ve grown a lot quicker were it not for the shale revolution. Balanced trade can be a sign of a healthy economy, and fracking is doing its part in moving that needle in the right direction. Hail shale!