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The Incidence of an Oil Glut: Who Benefits from Cheap Crude Oil in the Midwest?

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  • Severin Borenstein
  • Ryan Kellogg

Abstract

Beginning in early 2011, crude oil production in the U.S. Midwest and Canada surpassed the pipeline capacity to transport it to the Gulf Coast where it could access the world oil market. As a result, the U.S. "benchmark" crude oil price in Cushing, Oklahoma, declined substantially relative to internationally traded oil. In this paper, we study how this development affected prices for refined products, focusing on the markets for motor gasoline and diesel. We find that the relative decrease in Midwest crude oil prices did not pass through to wholesale gasoline and diesel prices. This result is consistent with evidence that the marginal gallon of fuel in the Midwest is still imported from coastal locations. Our findings imply that investments in new pipeline infrastructure between the Midwest and the Gulf Coast, such as the southern segment of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, will not raise gasoline prices in the Midwest.

Suggested Citation

  • Severin Borenstein & Ryan Kellogg, 2012. "The Incidence of an Oil Glut: Who Benefits from Cheap Crude Oil in the Midwest?," NBER Working Papers 18127, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18127 Note: EEE IO
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Anderson, Soren T. & Kellogg, Ryan & Sallee, James M., 2013. "What do consumers believe about future gasoline prices?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 66(3), pages 383-403.
    2. Severin Borenstein & A. Colin Cameron & Richard Gilbert, 1997. "Do Gasoline Prices Respond Asymmetrically to Crude Oil Price Changes?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 305-339.
    3. Chen, Li-Hsueh & Finney, Miles & Lai, Kon S., 2005. "A threshold cointegration analysis of asymmetric price transmission from crude oil to gasoline prices," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 89(2), pages 233-239, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Christiane Baumeister & Reinhard Ellwanger & Lutz Kilian, 2016. "Did the Renewable Fuel Standard Shift Market Expectations of the Price of Ethanol?," CESifo Working Paper Series 6282, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Christiane Baumeister & Lutz Kilian & Thomas K. Lee, 2017. "Inside the Crystal Ball: New Approaches to Predicting the Gasoline Price at the Pump," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 32(2), pages 275-295, March.
    3. Ghassan, Hassan Belkacem & AlHajhoj, Hassan Rafdan, 2016. "Long run dynamic volatilities between OPEC and non-OPEC crude oil prices," Applied Energy, Elsevier, pages 384-394.
    4. Bastianin, Andrea & Galeotti, Marzio & Manera, Matteo, 2014. "Forecasting the oil–gasoline price relationship: Do asymmetries help?," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(S1), pages 44-56.
    5. Gormus, N. Alper & Atinc, Guclu, 2016. "Volatile oil and the U.S. economy," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 62-73.
    6. Langer, Lissy & Huppmann, Daniel & Holz, Franziska, 2016. "Lifting the US crude oil export ban: A numerical partial equilibrium analysis," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 258-266.
    7. Lutz Kilian, 2016. "The Impact of the Shale Oil Revolution on U.S. Oil and Gasoline Prices," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 10(2), pages 185-205.
    8. Shaun McRae, 2017. "Crude Oil Price Differentials and Pipeline Infrastructure," NBER Working Papers 24170, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Catherine Hausman & Ryan Kellogg, 2015. "Welfare and Distributional Implications of Shale Gas," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 46(1 (Spring), pages 71-139.
    10. Severin Borenstein, 2016. "The Power and the Limits of Industrial Organization," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 48(3), pages 241-246, May.
    11. Bassam Fattouh & Lavan Mahadeva, 2014. "Causes and Implications of Shifts in Financial Participation in Commodity Markets," Journal of Futures Markets, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 34(8), pages 757-787, August.
    12. Alquist, Ron & Guénette, Justin-Damien, 2014. "A blessing in disguise: The implications of high global oil prices for the North American market," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 49-57.
    13. Elder, John & Miao, Hong & Ramchander, Sanjay, 2014. "Price discovery in crude oil futures," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(S1), pages 18-27.
    14. Lucas Davis & Catherine Hausman, 2014. "The Value of Transmission in Electricity Markets: Evidence from a Nuclear Power Plant Closure," NBER Working Papers 20186, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Kentaka Aruga, 2015. "Testing the International Crude Oil Market Integration with Structural Breaks," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 35(1), pages 641-649.
    16. Ghassan, Hassan Belkacem & AlHajhoj, Hassan Rafdan, 2016. "Long run dynamic volatilities between OPEC and non-OPEC crude oil prices," Applied Energy, Elsevier, pages 384-394.
    17. Kilian, Lutz, 2017. "How the Tight Oil Boom Has Changed Oil and Gasoline Markets," CEPR Discussion Papers 11876, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L71 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Primary Products and Construction - - - Mining, Extraction, and Refining: Hydrocarbon Fuels
    • L95 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Gas Utilities; Pipelines; Water Utilities
    • Q41 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Demand and Supply; Prices

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