US Distillate Fuel Exports Hit Record High in April, Imports Fall to Lowest Level in 27 Years

A report released last week by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) found that U.S. distillate fuel exports hit a record high in April, with 981,000 barrels per day being shipped overseas. That same government report estimated that foreign distillate imports fell to their lowest level since 1985.

EIA's interesting report also found an encouraging trend that distillate fuel exports were up 29 percent over the same period in 2011. Distillates primarily consist of diesel fuel and home heating oil, and with the substantial increase in domestic production, the U.S. has been a net exporter of distillates since 2008. The largest markets for American distillate exports appear to be Mexico and South America, which account for nearly 60 percent of all shipments as US refiners along the Gulf Coast have been better able to keep up with their growing fuel demand. As the report mentioned above, diesel and home heating oil imports are down to their lowest levels in nearly 30 years - with the vast majority of those imports (82 percent) coming from Canada into the East Coast.

A mild winter, the sluggish U.S. economy and continued financial turmoil in Europe have weakened fuel demand overall. EIA found that distillate exports to Europe declined 19 percent from 2011 levels. Nationwide, diesel fuel prices averaged $3.65/gallon which is 20 cents below prices from last year at this time.