Liam Pleven and Russell Gold, writing for the Wall Street Journal, point out an amazing fact, one that certainly flies in the face of conventional wisdom. The United States is now a net exporter of petroleum products. The last time this happened? 62 years ago.

“It looks like a trend that could stay in place for the rest of the decade,” said Dave Ernsberger, global director of oil at Platts, which tracks energy markets. “The conventional wisdom is that U.S. is this giant black hole sucking in energy from around the world. This changes that dynamic.”

The US is still a net importer of crude oil, but achieves net export status in petroleum energy products overall, thanks to the many refineries and booming overseas markets for coal, diesel, gas, and even liquid fuel produced from a coal liquefaction process. Mexico and Brazil are big consumers.

Source: Liam Pleven & Russell Gold, U.S. Nears Milestone: Net Fuel Exporter,, November 29, 2011.