Exports will rise by 450,000 barrels a day by 2015 as domestic demand shrinks and more products are sent to Latin America, Africa and other regions where fuel use is increasing, says Alan Gelder, head of downstream consulting at Edinburgh-based Wood Mackenzie.
The U.S. exported more gasoline, diesel and other fuels than it imported in 2011 for the first time since 1949, according to the Energy Information Administration. Shipments abroad of petroleum products exceeded imports by 439,000 barrels a day last year.
"U.S. gasoline demand is going one way, and that's down," Gelder says. "So to the question of can the U.S. transform into a global export center, we say yes. That can be done."
Shipments outside the U.S. will increase at a rate of 60,000 to 80,000 barrels a day in the years after 2015, Gelder says.
U.S. fuel demand will drop 0.4% to 18.77 million barrels a day in 2012, the EIA forecast last month in its Short-Term Energy Outlook. Consumption of oil and petroleum products dropped 7.8% between 2005 and 2010, and Mexico's use of U.S.-made gasoline was 44% higher last year than in 2010.