How Dependent Is the U.S. on Foreign Oil? - EIA Reports Current Trends

The U.S. imported about 49 percent of the crude oil and refined petroleum products that were consumed during 2010, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) noted in a recent brief on the issue.

About half of these imports came from the Western Hemisphere, EIA said, adding that U.S. dependence on foreign petroleum has declined since peaking in 2005.

Canada is the United States' leading crude oil supplier, EIA reported.

Consumption, Production and Import Patterns

The U.S. consumed 19.1 million barrels per day (MMbd) of petroleum products during 2010, making it the world's largest petroleum consumer, EIA said.

How Dependent Is the U.S. on Foreign Oil? – EIA Reports Current Trends

The U.S. was third in crude oil production at 5.5 MMbd. But since crude oil alone does not constitute all U.S. petroleum supplies. " . . . [B]ecause crude oil expands in the refining process, liquid fuel is captured in the processing of natural gas, and there are other sources of liquid fuel, including biofuels," EIA observed, reporting that these additional supplies totaled 4.2 MMbd in 2010.

How Dependent Is the U.S. on Foreign Oil? – EIA Reports Current Trends

In 2010, the U.S. imported 11.8 million barrels per day (MMbd) of crude oil and refined petroleum products. The U.S., however, also exported 2.3 MMbd of crude oil and petroleum products during 2010, so net imports (imports minus exports) equaled 9.4 MMbd, EIA noted.

Petroleum products imported by the United States during 2010 included gasoline, diesel fuel, heating oil, jet fuel, chemical feedstocks, asphalt, and other products. Still, most petroleum products consumed in the United States were refined here. Net imports of petroleum other than crude oil were 2 percent of the petroleum consumed in the United States during 2010, according to EIA.

About Half of U.S. Petroleum Imports from Western Hemisphere

Of the total crude oil and petroleum product imports, 49 percent came from the Western Hemisphere (North, South, and Central America, and the Caribbean including U.S. territories) during 2010. About 18 percent of U.S. crude and imports of crude oil and petroleum products come from the Persian Gulf countries of Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates. The U.S.' largest sources of net crude oil and petroleum product imports were Canada and Saudi Arabia, EIA said.

How Dependent Is the U.S. on Foreign Oil? – EIA Reports Current Trends

Reliance on Petroleum Imports has Declined

U.S. dependence on imported oil has dramatically declined since peaking in 2005, EIA emphasized.

"This trend is the result of a variety of factors including a decline in consumption and shifts in supply patterns," EIA said, continuing: "The economic downturn after the financial crisis of 2008, improvements in efficiency, changes in consumer behavior and patterns of economic growth, all contributed to the decline in petroleum consumption. At the same time, increased use of domestic biofuels (ethanol and biodiesel), and strong gains in domestic production of crude oil and natural gas plant liquids expanded domestic supplies and reduced the need for imports."


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Jody | Jul. 22, 2011
I'll try to put this to good use immediately.

Alan Khatib | Jul. 16, 2011
The declining consumption, increased U.S. production and diversification of supply are all welcome developments. However, the increase in biofuel production, at the expense of food crops and inefficient energy balance, is inconsistent with sustainable development.

Dave | Jul. 15, 2011
I think there is a real opportunity to gain a significant reduction in the cost of energy by producing as much as possible domestically. This should include a smart approach by government to increase the use of CNG as can be seen in Patagonia for example. The Pickens plan seems to make perfect sense as the basis for a strategy. By simply talking about it seriously the oil price would probably lose 10USD and building some CNG infrastructure demonstrating commitment would further depress the price. This of course yields immediate benefit globally in terms of reduced energy cost thus helping recovery. If the plans gain traction then the energy issue will probably be under control in the short to medium term. The USA has an opportunity to save in the region of 200 to 300x10^9USD/year in lost USD whilst generating strong energy related job creation that will benefit in the future as the energy picture develops. Not doing this in some form or other has to be related to some kind of insanity.

Robert | Jul. 15, 2011
I think if we convert to natural gas, we would not have to import ANY oil from outside north America

Jeanne Perdue | Jul. 14, 2011
This looks like good news: net imports down, consumption down, production up. Maybe we could be on our way toward self-sufficiency, keeping all those hundreds of billions of dollars right here in the US, boosting jobs and state and national coffers rather than sending $ overseas to countries full of unrest.


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