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Exports help drive record U.S. refinery production

November 18, 2011 | 12:36 pm

The amount of gasoline and other fuels produced by U.S. refineries reached a new record for October, compared with the same month in previous years, according to the American Petroleum Institute's (API) monthly statistical release. But a big part of that story was where some of that production was headed -- overseas.

U.S. refineries produced more than 9.4 million barrels of gasoline and more than 4.5 million barrels of distillates, such as diesel, in October. The gasoline figure represented a 4% increase and the distillate figure was a rise of 4.9% over the same month a year earlier, the API said.

The API also noted that U.S. petroleum exports to other countries soared by 37.6%, to more than 3.4 million barrels in October compared with the same month in 2010.

Exports of refined fuels, particularly diesel, have reached record levels, according to separate statistics compiled by the U.S. Energy Department, reaching more than 95 million barrels in August. That's an increase of more than 107% since August of 2007.

This comes at a time when gasoline prices in the U.S. are at their highest levels ever for this week in November. The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in the U.S. Friday, for example, is $3.38, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report or 28.5 cents a gallon higher than the old record set in 2007.

In California, the average price for a gallon of regular gasoline Friday, is $3.79 or 39.6 cents a gallon above the old mark, also set in 2007.

U.S. diesel prices are also worse than ever for this time of year. Nationally, the average price of a gallon of diesel Friday is $3.99, according to the AAA, or 58.6 cents above the old record set five years ago. In California, the average price for a gallon of diesel is $4.31 or 69.3 cents above the old mark set in 2007.


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Photo: The sprawling Conoco-Phillips oil refinery in Wilmington. The nation's refineries produced a record amount of fuel in October compared with the same month in previous years. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times