Remember back in January of 2010 when President Obama set an ambitious goal to double US exports within five years? Well, there are now only 18 months left to go until 2015, and that lofty goal now seems to be unachievable and has vanished from White House talking points, according to this recent AP story: “Obama Likely to Miss Goal of Doubling Exports.”
In the three-and-a-half years since Obama made his promise to double US exports and create two million new jobs, US exports have only increased by about one-third in nominal terms and only about 25% in inflation-adjusted dollars. At the current annual average growth in exports of about 3.3%, US exports in early 2015 will likely be about $200 billion per month, and only about 40% above the $143.6 billion worth of exports in January 2010 when President Obama announced his lofty goal. No wonder the goal of doubling exports in five years has vanished from the White House talking points.
Although this might not have been what Obama had in mind when he promised to double US exports in five years, he might want to brag about a rather remarkable US export success story — the phenomenal increase in American-made petroleum products. Thanks to America’s amazing shale revolution that dramatically boosted domestic oil output starting in about 2007, US exports of refined petroleum products like gasoline, diesel, jet fuels, and heating oil have tripled in constant 2009 dollars (see chart above, data here) to a new record high in June.
So here’s a great talking point for Obama: “When I made my promise in January 2010 to double US exports, we were selling only $3.7 billion of refined petroleum products to the rest of the world (in 2009 dollars). In June of this year, American-based refineries sold $7.33 billion worth of petroleum products that were “Made in the USA.” I’m proud of the fact that American oil producers and refiners have helped me meet my goal of doubling US exports, and they did it in record time — there are still 18 months left to go before my 2015 deadline and petroleum exports have already doubled.”
MP: Realistically, we won’t hear any bragging from Obama about the boom in US hydrocarbon-based exports because it’s not part of the “green energy” future that Obama envisions, and probably wasn’t at all what he had in mind when he promised to double US exports. Nonetheless, the tripling of US petroleum exports since 2007, and the doubling of those exports since January 2010, is another part of America’s amazing shale oil revolution — which continues to provide one of the strongest reasons to be optimistic about the US economy and America’s future.