Marathon Petroleum CEO Weighs In on Energy Independence

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Talk of an energy independent United States in the near future is premature, but the country has made tremendous progress toward this goal in the past seven years since hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated the fuels market, said Gary R. Heminger, CEO of Marathon Petroleum Corp., parent company of Speedway LLC.

“We are still importing 7 million to 8 million gallons of fuel per day as a country. So, we are far from being energy independent. But we are much closer than before,” he said Wednesday, delivering a speech on the final day of the 2014 annual meeting of SIGMA: America's Leading Fuel Marketers.

Heminger noted that America, which is also a robust natural gas producer, now has leverage. “Think about how the pendulum has swung,” he said.

Also on the side of America is increased oil production in the future. He expects oil production to rise from 10 million barrels per day currently to 16 million barrels by 2025, with even better output by 2030.

In the immediate future, Heminger believes gasoline prices could drop further this year, with some states seeing a pump price of $2.50 per regular gallon before the calendar changes to 2015. Once the price reaches this point, the CEO expects U.S. demand to increase as consumers decide to take more family trips.

Heminger joined Findlay, Ohio-based Marathon Petroleum in 1975 and was named its CEO in 2011. Enon, Ohio-based Speedway operates approximately 2,740 convenience stores in 23 states.

The three-day 2014 SIGMA Annual Meeting took place at the Omni Nashville hotel. Next year's annual meeting will be held Nov. 9-11 at the Westin Copley Place in Boston.

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