American Sauce: US Oil Dependence 101
February 28th, 2011
02:36 PM ET
7 years ago

American Sauce: US Oil Dependence 101

Capitol Hill (CNN) - What precisely does the high-blood pressure in the oil markets mean for the U.S.? And, uh, where is the U.S. with dependence on foreign oil exactly?

This week's American Sauce gives you a 101 on American oil dependence. (And so as to not be too depressing, we also have a segment on some good news – how violent crime is dropping.) We give you three media forms to choose from:

Watch this video report to dip your toe in and get a general idea.

Or if you have just a few minutes more, listen to the podcast here, for a more full understanding.

And, of course, keep reading, for some bullet points.

-U.S. Oil Dependence 101

The bigger problem is demand.

– The U.S. is a huge oil producer, in fact it is the third largest oil producer in the world.
– Only Russia and Saudi Arabia pump more oil out of the ground.
– Supply: The U.S. is on track to produce 8-9 million barrels of oil a day in 2011. (Sources: EIA, IEA)


– Demand: The U.S. will consume approx. 19-20 million barrels of oil a day in 2011. (Sources EIA, IEA)

Thus, the key figure here:

– Dependence: The U.S., despite its relatively large oil production, must import 51% – 60% of its needs from other countries.

Where does the US get its imported oil?

– The top five countries in order: Canada, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Nigeria.

Is the U.S. on track to become more or less dependent on imported oil?

– For the next few decades, the answer is actually less. The Energy Information Administration (part of the US Dept. of Energy) believes the U.S. will need to import 45% of its petroleum in 2035.

– That decrease is attributed mostly to an expected rise in biofuels, like ethanol.


– Many experts point out that by 2035 oil prices could be significantly higher.

– This, as the world depletes the most easy-to-reach oil reserves and may need to use much more energy (and more funds) to reach remaining sources.

– And as supply may become harder to manage, world oil demand is expected to keep rising. Countries which now export oil may begin to export less and keep more supply for their own use.

What do you folks think? Anything we left out? Leave a comment.

What more information? Listen to our podcast, where I give my report alongside an oil expert and former CIA analyst. Listen here.

You can also listen to American Sauce on iTunes or subscribe to the podcast via RSS.

Follow on Twitter: @LisaDCNN.

Filed under: American Sauce
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    Keep screaming it: "WHERE ARE THE JOBS?!?!?!?!" These GOP corporatocrats are out to reduce 99% of us to third-world country status in terms of education, salaries, benefits, health care options, etc.

    But add this: "WHERE ARE THE DEMOCRATS?!?!?!" Enough is enough. The GOP turds won't compromise. No way, no how. So take them to the mat. We're getting sick of having one party try to screw us in the rear while the other party hands them the lube. STAND UP AND BE COUNTED or get lost. It's time to win the messaging war for once instead of p-ssyfooting around like eunuch capitulators. The people of WI have the right idea. Maybe the Dems can learn something from them.

    February 28, 2011 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  2. ConservaFascists

    Is the U.S. on track to become more or less dependent on imported oil?

    – For the next few decades, the answer is actually less. The Energy Information Administration (part of the US Dept. of Energy) believes the U.S. will need to import 45% of its petroleum in 2035.

    – That decrease is attributed mostly to an expected rise in biofuels, like ethanol.
    Based upon these FACTS, this is why high speed rail is needed in this country. Not only will it put people back to work, but it will take more cars off the road. The U.S. needs to get on the ball. We can not depend solely on oil. Green technologies are the wave of the future and we should be more proactive in trying to get more electric/solar vehicles on the road.

    February 28, 2011 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  3. Jeff in DC

    It would also be helpful if you pointed out that the price of oil is set in a global market, whereby multinational oil companies supply the oil to consumers on a global scale, mostly irregardless of whether the oil was extracted domestically or imported. Thus, the important issue isn't so much dependence on *foreign* oil, but dependence on oil overall. Increasing domestic production will not stabilize US prices; it will simply lead to a slight increase in global oil production, with negligible impact on prices we pay at the pump.

    February 28, 2011 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  4. Charlie

    i think your right and we are going to be paying a lot more in the near future i this we should have been drilling here 30 years ago we need to go more green

    February 28, 2011 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  5. Jilli

    Problem with the "drill here, drill now" folks is their misguided belief that oil procured here in the US stays in the US. It doesn't. It goes into the same international pool with all the others. The little we can obtain here in the states with additional drilling isn't enough to make much of a difference. So, instead of destroying our environment and many peoples way of life, why don't we use that good old American ingenuity and come up with better alternatives so we aren't living based on the whims and winds of the middle east.

    February 28, 2011 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  6. diridi

    Wake Up America! Produce more fuel-efficient vehicles and Electric Cars. Stop depending on Middle east nations. We should have done this long time ago. Now middle east want democracy. They can not ship oil to America because of various reasons. Once America is independent on oil, they go broke. true, true, and true. No matter what any one says, USA is car driven nation. Be oil independent..Work for Green Energy....Good for all...

    February 28, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  7. Rick McDaniel

    As long as world population continues to grow, exponentially, and as long s no more practical energy source is presented, oil will continue to see increasing demand, and higher prices, especially as the world supply becomes more and more dependent on the middle east.

    February 28, 2011 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  8. republican pride

    we can thank all my fellow republicans for making it impossible to get off of foreign oil. Every time that kind of bill gets proposed, republicans block it.

    February 28, 2011 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  9. jules sand-perkins

    Atomic energy is the best answer. I once lived near a plant that produced it. I never worried.

    February 28, 2011 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  10. D. Bunker

    CNN left out the really mind-blowing statistic: China is kicking our butt in terms of investment in green technology. Meanwhile, clueless teatards and Greedy Old Piggers spend max time and money OPPOSING anything to get the US off its oil addiction. Since junkies live short, ugly lives, what's it gonna be, America?

    February 28, 2011 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |

    Use more Nuclear, wind, solar energy to run all electrical cars is the solution. Get rid of the intimidating mindset of the all so called environmentalist like it will be desaster if we use more solar or place the solar panel on the desert will kill all the desert animal. Bunch of BS. If Frace can produce 80% of their enegy need from nuclear with out any major acccident why not US. May be we can learn someting from them. Stop using all those gas guzzling SUV. We American will never give up our car. Mass public transportation will not work her given the geographical vastness of this county. May be it will work only within few cities.

    February 28, 2011 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  12. Greg

    Considering that only 1 country in the middle east is in our top 5 supplier why is so much emphasis (and wars) located there?

    February 28, 2011 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    Here's your "liberal 'news' media" for you:

    It takes the Teatards recruiting from all over the country to manage a gathering of 85,000 people in DC to watch the Becktard spew mindless, baseless batsh-t conspiracy theory nonsense at them: "liberal 'news' media" covers every second of it and blathers on and on and on about the Teatards "movement," downplaying the fact that it's all astroturf demagoguery and that satellite imagery shows there was only 85,000 of them present...all so that Limbot, Faux Noise, Bachman and Jaberwocky Barbie can run around unchallenged claiming it was upwards of 2 milion people.

    It takes one ideologue corporate-bought Koch sucker governor and a handful of GOP legislators to manufacture a false budget crisis to justify an assault on collective bargaining rights (and despite the union agreeing to the changes in their benefits packages that would actually affect the budget) to cause 70,000 people JUST FROM WISCONSIN to flood their capitol building and camp out there for days on end: "liberal 'news' media" shuts the story down and gives it minimal coverage, allowing Faux Noise to claim that the "protestors" and "rioting" solely because of the benefits changes...all without a single critical thought or challenge offered to counter such obvious mischaracterizations or to offer up all the evidence that Walker and his GOP cronies MANUFACTURED THE WHOLE BUDGET PROBLEM.

    Keep it up guys...good work and kudos to my "liberal 'news' media" bretheren. We certainly agee with you that it's far more important what is going on in Libya on a minute by minute basis and whether Gadhafi's had a healthy breakfast and morning constitutional than it is to cover the GOP's blatant attempts to set worker's rights back 50 years. Let's just all go home WI, IN, TN, et al....let the GOP have their way so "progress" can continue and we can start getting rid of child labor laws and minimum wages....the fix is in and the "liberal 'news' media" has decided your voices need dampening.

    February 28, 2011 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  14. DemoCommunists for a Better Way - Bankruptcy

    How will this country EVER break its dependence on foreign oil when the lefists refuse to allow drilling anywhere in the USA and off our shores? Without doing this we are all just kidding ourselves. We need to GET REAL!

    February 28, 2011 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  15. buccakenji

    The Dept of Energy was created to solve the dependancy problem. How's that going? ?

    February 28, 2011 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  16. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    When a country elects a president and vice president who are in the "big oil" business, that being Bush and Cheney, what do Americans expect.

    February 28, 2011 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  17. ThinkAgain

    How will this country EVER break its dependence on foreign oil when the lefists refuse to allow drilling anywhere in the USA and off our shores?

    What is it about it would take 10 years to get 10 months of oil out of Alaska that you don't get? It makes far better sense to develop alternative fuel and start switching over ASAP to what we have now.

    It's folks like you that are ruining this country, with your stupidity and willingness to believe anything Fox, Limbaugh, Beck and the rest of the rightwing jokers tell you.

    February 28, 2011 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  18. ThinkAgain


    Oh, yeah, I remember now, the Republicans getting elected is about DESTROYING America, not helping it....

    February 28, 2011 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  19. Drew

    Anybody wonder what happens when we run out? From the birth of Christ until roughly 1900, the worlds population was roughly 1 billion. When oil was introduced into the population, it shot up by 5 billion people over the last century.

    These numbers are not self sustaining. What does oil do for us? Everything. Plastics, roads, tires, gasoline; essentially, everything we are accustomed to needs oil. It essentially runs a hyper inflated and malnutritioned food network that is needed to sustain the current worlds population.

    I believe the systematic breakdown of civilization will occur when oil finally becomes depleted. At that point, even if we begin to manufacture other types of energy resources, we're done. It will take more energy, cars, plastics and just crude oil to run the machines to manufacture any new technology than we will have.

    Travel will stop. Jobs will cease to exist. Supermarkets will begin to run out of food. Governments will begin to horde any last oil that they can. And then what?

    ... And then what?

    February 28, 2011 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  20. Robert

    The reactionaries who were intransigent on US oil dependence in the 1970s, who were intransigent on US oil dependence in 2008, and who are intransigent on US oil dependence now hates this country.

    Energy dependence is the greatest threat to US national security. We endeavor to drag the GOP/Tea Party kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

    February 28, 2011 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  21. informed voter

    If this country had only listened to what President Carter said in his State of the Union address (over 3 decades ago) regarding the need for higher fuel efficiency in our cars and looking towards other sources of energy, we would be way ahead of the game by now. But the big oil companies and their bought and paid for political puppets (the Bush dynasty, Cheney, Rep. Joe Barton, etc) have fought tooth and nail to keep us on the oil teet. It's not too late to finally invest in green energy, however it takes political will, and too many of our representatives have no back bone.

    February 28, 2011 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  22. Jamie

    Humans are stupid. We wont stop burning oil until theres only a few drops left and then we'll kill each other over those last few drops.

    February 28, 2011 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  23. Qwerty

    Does anyone care that oil/gas prices are more affected by money hungry futures traders betting that prices may rise than any mid-east unrest?

    February 28, 2011 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    "How will this country EVER break its dependence on foreign oil when the lefists refuse to allow drilling anywhere in the USA and off our shores?"

    Typical right wing misdirection, msinformation nonsense. Jaberwocky Barbie wanted to "drill baby drill" because of the government teat kickbacks the residents of Alaska get from the oil companies. The reality is that it would atke something like 20 years to get the operation up and running and the amount of oil available would barelky have dented the problem. Moreover, the best way to end up dependent on someone else for something is to get rid of all of your own of that something. "Drill baby drill"...another mindless automaton vote-against-your-own-interests right wing meme brough to you by giant corporations and the politicians who slurp them.

    February 28, 2011 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  25. jimbo

    Cellulosic ethanol will be commercially available next year and has the potential to displace 60 percent of total US oil use. Ethanol made from any biomass is clean, green, renewable and home grown. It now produces far more energy than is used to produce. NASCAR now uses it. Cars can run on it today. I use E30–no problem.

    February 28, 2011 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
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