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Shale Energy’s Broad, Beneficial Impacts

Mary Leshper

Mary Schaper
Posted February 24, 2014

Energy Trade is a Key Part of Overall U.S. Trade Flows

EIA Energy Today: Energy trade has long been a key component of overall U.S. trade flows. Recent developments in U.S. energy production, notably the rapid growth of tight oil and shale gas output, are leading to significant changes in the nation's energy trade flows. Another important factor is consumption trends, which reflect both increased efficiency of vehicles and other energy-using equipment, and structural changes in the economy. This article, which focuses on current energy trade in the context of overall trade flows, will be followed by several others in the coming days that consider the evolution of trade flows in major energy fuel categories since 2002.


As shown in the figure above, overall U.S. trade includes both goods and services but is dominated by goods. In 2013, as in other recent years, the United States was a net importer of goods and a net exporter of services. Energy accounted for 15% of gross U.S. goods imports in 2013, while energy exports, which have grown significantly in recent years, accounted for 7% of overall U.S. goods exports. Focusing on the net U.S. trade position, shown by the black line in the chart above, net energy imports account for nearly half of the total U.S. trade deficit in goods and services.


The value of energy trade flows can move rapidly as a result of changes in production, consumption, and prices. In 2013, the value of energy fuels exports increased 8% relative to 2012, while the value of energy fuels imports fell 11%. Given the prominent role of energy fuels in U.S. trade accounts, this shift pushed the total U.S. trade deficit in 2013 to the lowest level in four years.

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Mary Schaper is a Digital Communications Manager for the American Petroleum Institute. She previously worked on Capitol Hill for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee as Digital Director and for Senator Lisa Murkowski. Before coming to D.C., she spearheaded digital strategy for Murkowski's successful Senate write-in campaign in 2010. Schaper enjoys traveling and taking in the local culture alongside her husband, their son and loyal springer spaniel.