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US imports and exports of transport fuels fell in 2020

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Global responses to the COVID-19 pandemic substantially reduced trade of many petroleum products to and from the United States during the first half of 2020, according to Today in Energy. Exports of selected petroleum products mainly consumed as transportation fuels – distillate fuel oil, motor gasoline, and jet fuel –collectively declined by 14%, or 344 000 bpd in 2020. US imports of those fuels collectively declined by 18%, or 211 000 bpd in 2020. These three fuels accounted for 24% of total US petroleum exports (crude oil and petroleum products) and 12% of total US petroleum imports in 2020, according to EIA’s ‘Petroleum Supply Monthly’.

Distillate fuel had long been the top petroleum product exported from the US, but in 2020 propane exports surpassed distillate fuel exports. Exports of distillate fuel oil in 2020 decreased to 1.2 million bpd, down 8% compared with 2019. Mexico, Brazil, and Chile ranked as the top three destination countries for US distillate exports in 2020.

US imports of distillate fuel oil increased 7% to 216 000 bpd in 2020, reaching the highest level recorded since 2010. More than half of US distillate imports in 2020 came from Canada. The US has been a net distillate exporter (exporting more than was imported) in every year since 2008.

US imports and exports of gasoline, including finished gasoline and gasoline blending components, both declined in 2020. US imports of gasoline – mostly gasoline blending components from countries such as Canada, India, and the Netherlands – decreased 27% to 584 000 bpd. US exports of gasoline – mostly finished gasoline sent to Mexico – decreased by 12% to 790 000 bpd. The US has been a net gasoline exporter since 2016.

In 2020, the US imported 150 000 bpd of jet fuel, down 9% from 2019, and exported 95 000 bpd, down 57% from 2019. As a result, the US was a net importer of jet fuel in 2020 for the first time in a decade. Canada and Mexico are the main destinations for US jet fuel exports, and slightly more than half of US jet fuel imports in 2020 came from South Korea.

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