AFPM opposes the Inflation Reduction Act as written. We evaluated the bill against our core principles, specifically whether the legislation would support strong U.S. refining and petrochemical industries and whether it pursued emissions reductions in a market-based and cost-effective manner. Unfortunately, the IRA falls short of these goals.
A Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) release—which basically involves making additional barrels of crude oil available for sale to the world market—is meant to increase global supply. Meeting today’s demand with more supply is a recipe for lower prices. The United States released millions of barrels from our SPR in the past several months, as did many other countries.
Refinery utilization, measures how much crude oil refineries are processing or “running” as a percentage of their maximum capacity. It tells us roughly how much of our refining muscle is being put to work manufacturing fuel. American refineries are running full-out, at about 95% of total capacity, contributing more fuel—gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, etc.—to the global market than any other country. In fact, U.S. refineries process more crude oil every day than the United States produces, and we make more finished fuels than the United States consumes.
Some policymakers are rumored to be considering a ban on crude oil and/or U.S. refined product exports. This would be a mistake. Ending U.S. crude oil or refined product exports won’t help U.S. consumers by lowering prices at pump. In fact, it could make things even worse. Let’s take a closer look at how a refined product export ban would affect gasoline and diesel supplies and, thus, prices in the United States and around the world.
We are surprised and disappointed by the President’s letter. Any suggestion that U.S. refiners are not doing our part to bring stability to the market is false. We would encourage the Administration to look inward to better understand the role their policies and hostile rhetoric have played in the current environment.
To address freight rail concerns, leaders from LyondellBasell and the Surface Transportation Board (STB) held discussions and toured LyondellBasell’s facility in Morris, Illinois. LyondellBasell’s Morris Complex is unique in that it is served by more than one major rail carrier. Nearly 80 percent of U.S. refineries and petrochemical facilities operate in regions served by just one freight rail provider.
The United States has the most complex and efficient refining industry in the world, but we also have less refining capacity than we used to. Where the issue of refining capacity is concerned, it’s important to understand what refining capacity is, why we’ve lost capacity in the United States and how policies can advance the competitiveness of our refineries in the global market.
To produce essential goods for U.S. and global consumers, AFPM members need a safe, reliable and efficient rail system to move materials to and from refineries and petrochemical facilities.
SPR releases cannot be the center of this Administration’s strategy to confront inflation and high energy prices. At best, SPR releases are a short-term fix, they are not a solution. Stability and certainty is what global crude oil markets crave.