As a result, U.S. refineries have become more active participants in the Atlantic Basin gasoline market. Average U.S. Gulf Coast exports to Latin America for the period January through September increased from 74,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2011 to 96,000 bbl/d in 2012, and have averaged 105,000 bbl/d in 2013. In addition, exports of gasoline from the United States to West Africa have increased significantly. Exports to West Africa averaged just 6,000 bbl/d in 2012, but thus far in 2013 have averaged 26,000 bbl/d, with August 2013 setting the highest export level on record to West Africa at 53,000 bbl/d (Figure 2). The increase in exports to West Africa, a market traditionally supplied by Europe, signals the competitiveness of U.S. gasoline exports in new markets. Despite the significant growth in exports, the East Coast is also still a significant importer of gasoline as a result of capacity constraints on product pipelines serving the region from the Gulf Coast and the high cost of coastwise shipments between U.S. ports. In September, the latest month for which data are available, the East Coast imported 501,000 bbl/d of gasoline.
Gasoline and diesel fuel prices both slide again
The U.S. average retail price of regular gasoline decreased three cents to $3.24 per gallon as of December 16, 2013, two cents lower than last year at this time. Prices decreased in all regions of the nation, with the largest decrease coming on the Gulf Coast, where the price was down six cents to $3.05 per gallon. The Midwest price dropped five cents to $3.08 per gallon, and the Rocky Mountain price was $3.06 per gallon, two cents less than last week. The East and West Coast prices both fell a penny, to $3.37 per gallon and $3.47 per gallon, respectively.
The national average diesel fuel price decreased one cent to $3.87 per gallon, seven cents lower than last year at this time. Prices increased less than one cent on the East Coast and in the Rocky Mountains, to $3.92 per gallon and $3.85 per gallon, respectively, while decreasing in the rest of the nation. The Midwest price declined two cents to $3.85 per gallon. The Gulf and West Coast prices were $3.77 per gallon and $3.98 per gallon, respectively, both down a penny.