The gasoline demand in China is expected to increase half the rate of new car sales, but refineries are able to meet this demand without having to affect export volumes.
In 2009 China brought retail fuel prices to the global standard, an action which led a huge increase in demand. However, refineries were able to meet the rising demand for exports while supplying enough fuel for the new car market, which accounts for 90% of the production.
"So long as China raises crude runs, the configuration of Chinese refineries will mean increasing supplies of gasoline that will outpace, or at best, be on par with gasoline demand," said Kang Wu, a senior fellow at the Hawaii-based East-West Center.
According to Reuters, the increase in the auto market has not exceeded China’s gasoline production capacity because the total number of cars in China represents around 20% of that in the U.S. (for example).
"Reading data on car stocks is a more reliable approach than checking the car sales figures. That makes the growth gap with gasoline use much narrower," Yan Kefeng, a senior analyst at Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) told Reuters.
In addition to that, some of the new cars which sustain this growth can also run on electricity or natural gas, so they don't necessarily depend on gasoline.