As the world’s top consumer of oil, how much of that consumption is the United States able to satisfy with its own oil resources and how dependent is it on imported oil?
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), of the oil consumed in the United States in 2008, approximately 57% was imported. Despite popular belief that most of this imported oil would have come from the Middle East, nearly half originated in the Western Hemisphere in countries such as Mexico, Canada, Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina.
Although the United States is one of the top five crude oil producers, as you can see in the chart below, more than half of the oil consumed by Americans is imported.
Net imports have generally increased since 1985 while U.S. production fell and consumption grew.
According to the EIA, in 2008, while the United States consumed more than 23% of the world’s petroleum, it produced only about 10%. The United States “consumed 19.5 million barrels per day (MMbd) of petroleum products during 2008 making [them] the world’s largest petroleum consumer…[and] third in crude oil production at 4.9 MMbd” (EIA). In 2008, the United States imported 12.9 MMbd of crude oil and refined petroleum products, while it exported 1.8 MMbd, resulting in net imports (imports minus exports) equaling 11.1 MMbd. Most of the petroleum consumed in the United States was refined domestically.
Where do U.S. oil imports come from?
Some may be surprised to learn that nearly 50% of U.S. oil imports came from the Western Hemisphere (North, South, and Central America and the Caribbean including U.S. territories) during 2008. Only approximately 22% of U.S. imports of crude oil and petroleum products originate in the Persian Gulf and Middle Eastern countries of Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The largest suppliers of net oil imports to the U.S. are Canada and Saudi Arabia (EIA).
Sources of Net...