U.S. Ran Its First Petroleum Surplus in At Least 40 Years

Color shot of a shale gas drilling rig on a field.
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The United States exported more petroleum than it imported in September, running a petroleum trade surplus for the first time in records that go back to 1978.

The U.S. exported $15 billion of petroleum products in September and imported $14.7 billion. The result was a surplus of $252 million, according to Commerce Department data released Tuesday.

U.S. production of petroleum has skyrocketed in recent years thanks fracking and related new extraction methods. The U.S. has become an energy super-power, accounting for 18 percent of the world’s oil production.

All the leading Democratic presidential candidates want to limit or ban fracking. Front-runners Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders would ban fracking altogether, as would Kamala Harris, Corey Booker, and Tulsi Gabbard. Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg have called on a ban on new fracking, with Buttigieg saying he would phase out all existing fracking over time.


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