As gasoline prices creep back up again, a national advocacy group is drawing attention to one largely unexamined factor contributing to the pain at the pump: American companies are exporting near record amounts of finished gasoline to other countries.
Food & Water Watch calculated that in 2021, the United States exported over 12 billion gallons of gasoline for foreign sale. The total represents the gasoline consumption of over 30 million Americans, or roughly one month of total national gasoline consumption.
Those trends continued in 2022: In the first six months of this year, the United States exported just over 6.4 billion gallons of gasoline – a nearly nine percent increase from the first six months of 2021.
In response, Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter released the following statement:
“The fossil fuel industry has made obscene profits throughout a deadly global pandemic, and will continue this profiteering at the pump by promoting fuel exports when supplies are tight. This is highly profitable for them, and absolutely disastrous for American families struggling with sky high inflation. These corporations are simply deciding to make more money – no matter the pain it causes here at home. The White House should take proactive steps to ban gasoline exports to protect American consumers from Big Oil’s price gouging.”
The White House has voiced concerns about oil industry profiteering over the past few months. In August, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm urged refiners to build up domestic supplies rather than exporting fuels. Administration officials have not entirely ruled out placing limits on exports, and earlier this month, the White House asked the Department of Energy to analyze the likely effects of an export ban.