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The advocates of opening up .... well, everywhere ... in the US and its shores as way to bring down gas prices now have a new black swan data point to deal with in January's trade balance report:

The U.S. exported a record $11.6 billion in petroleum products, but crude imports by the barrel tumbled to the smallest amount since 1997.
The amount of oil we import is still far larger than what we import; however, what this shows - again - is that oil is global.  Unlike debauchery in Las Vegas, for oil, what's produced here doesn't (necessarily) stay here.  Oil prices are set by a global market.  

The data also suggest that gas prices should have fallen in January, which I believe they did, but since this is a trend that's been going for some time, they sure have not gone down over the last number of years.  And, while it seems unlikely the import/export balance for petroleum would have reversed on a dime, prices at the pump have gone up in the last few weeks.

Increase domestic supply makes a lot of sense for security reasons, but for that to work, the government would have to control exports.  Those salivating at the prospect of puncturing our lands and offshore waters with swarms of drilling rigs would be the first to howl at the prospect of government controls of petroleum exports.  Ironic, ain't it?

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