America’s top export in 2011 was . . . fuel?

[caption id="attachment_1102" align="alignright" width="296" caption="Refineries in Deer Park, Texas. (David J. Phillip/AP)"][/caption]

Fuel is now the top U.S. export. The Associated Press reports that America is on pace to ship out more gasoline, diesel and jet fuel than anything else in 2011. (Aircraft, motor vehicles, vacuum tubes and telecom equipment were next on the list of top exports.) Granted, this is only for refined petroleum products — and those exports are still dwarfed by America’s much, much larger imports of crude oil. Still, it’s the first time fuel has been our top export in 21 years. So how did this happen?

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