This New York Times title says a lot, "No New Refineries in 29 Years? There Might Well Be a Reason." It follows the story of a group trying to build a new refinery in AZ, and digs into why we have had such a long dry spell.
Over the last quarter-century, the number of refineries in the United States dropped to 149, less than half the number in 1981. Because companies have upgraded and expanded their aging operations, refining capacity during that time period shrank only 10 percent from its peak of 18.6 million barrels a day. At the same time, gasoline consumption has risen by 45 percent.
But even as the United States grows more reliant on foreign gasoline, it will face mounting competition from other buyers where demand is similarly growing, like China and India. "More competition means imports might become more expensive," said Joanne Shore, an analyst with the government's Energy Information Administration.