The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Did You Know U.S. Reliance on Imports is Falling?

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted July 21, 2009

Here's an interesting factoid for you: America's reliance on imported oil has been falling. According to API's Monthly Statistical Report for June, imports fell 7.6 percent during the first half of 2009 as compared with the same period a year earlier. This drop was on top of two consecutive annual declines in crude oil and oil product imports in 2007 and 2008.

This means the United States is less reliant on other countries for oil these days; but hold the applause because this isn't necessarily good news. Imports have been falling largely due to weak domestic demand during the recession. In June, total imports of crude oil and oil products totaled 11.3 million barrels per day, the lowest for the month since 1999.

When the economy recovers, it's likely that imports will recover as more energy is needed to power economic growth. And if the Waxman-Markey climate bill is enacted, it's likely that imports of oil products, such as gasoline and diesel fuel, will skyrocket. The bill contains provisions that penalize the refining of fuels in the United States and could put some refiners out of business. At least one company says the annual cost of complying with the bill would require more than 10 times its annual earnings. This means Americans could find themselves filling up with gasoline from overseas refineries, while U.S. refiners hand out pink slips to American workers.

Think about this the next time someone tells you that the climate bill will create jobs and improve America's energy security. To learn more, visit the EnergyTomorrow Action Center.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jane Van Ryan was formerly senior communications manager and new media advisor at the American Petroleum Institute (API), where she wrote blog posts and produced podcasts and videos. Before coming to API, Jane managed communications for a large science and engineering corporation, and for a top-tier research and engineering university. A few years ago, you might have seen her in your living room when she delivered the news on television. Jane officially retired from API in 2011 and now freelances as an independent communications consultant when not gardening at her farm in Virginia.