(U.S. energy policy in a nutshell: we are forced to buy oil from Saudi Arabia because our Texas oil is going to Singapore)
American oil companies are shipping record amounts of gasoline and diesel fuel to other countries. A record 1.6 million barrels a day in U.S. refined petroleum products were exported during the first four months of this year, up 33 percent from 1.2 million barrels a day over the same period in 2007. Shipments this February topped 1.8 million barrels a day for the first time during any month, according to final numbers from the Energy Department.
The biggest share of U.S. oil products exported went to Mexico, Canada, Chile, Singapore and Brazil.
The surge in exports appears to contradict the pleas from the U.S. oil industry and the Bush administration for Congress to open more offshore waters and Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling.
"We can help alleviate shortages by drilling for oil and gas in our own country," President Bush told reporters this week. "We have got the opportunity to find more crude oil here at home.
But environmentalists disagreed. "It doesn't look good to say: 'We need more oil.' But then export the refined products that you're getting. It doesn't seem to be consistent," said Jim Presswood, energy lobbyist for the Natural Resources Defense Council.
U.S exports of diesel fuel in April averaged 387,000 barrels per day, up almost seven-fold from 59,000 barrels a day in the same month a year earlier.
U.S. gasoline shipments in April averaged 202,000 barrels a day, the most for the month since 1945, when America was sending fuel overseas to ease supply shortages in other countries during World War II. Gasoline exports in April 2007 were almost half at 116,000 barrels per day.
Daily U.S. gasoline exports to Canada skyrocketed to 41,000 barrels in January-April this year from 9,000 barrels in 2007.