COMMENTARY: U.S. reduces oil import percentage – but has a long, long way to go

We continue to spend $270 billion a year on foreign petroleum

The U.S. government’s latest annual data on petroleum is a good news/bad news story. Net imports in 2012 accounted for 40 percent of the petroleum consumed in the United States, the lowest annual average since 1991; however, the 40 percent we imported is an enormous amount and a crippling cost. It just shows how critical energy independence is for America.

"Petroleum" includes crude oil and refined petroleum products like gasoline, and biofuels like ethanol and biodiesel. In 2012, about 80 percent of gross petroleum imports were crude oil, and about 57 percent of all crude oil that was processed in U.S. refineries was imported.

The net imports are the total imports minus the exports. No American crude oil was exported in 2012, only refined and processed products.

2012:  Top sources of imported petroleum to the U. S. in million barrels per day and percent share of gross and net imports

Import sources/ Gross imports/ Exports to import source/ Net Imports/
Total, all countries/  10.596/  3.184/  7.412
OPEC countries/  4.256 (40%)/  .177/  4.078 (55%)
Persian Gulf/  2.151 (20%)/  0.088/ 2.144 (29%)
Top five countries
Canada/  2.955 (28%)/  0.403/ 2.551 (34%)
Saudi Arabia/ 1.359 (13%)/  0.001/  1.358 (18%)
Mexico/  1.031 (10%)/  0.526/  0.469 (6%)
Venezuela/  0.952 (9%)/  0.085/  0.867 (12%)
Russia/ 0.477 (5%)/  0.000/  0.477 (10%)

As you can see from the chart, our net petroleum imports were 7.4 million barrels a day in 2012. Fifty five percent of net imports were from OPEC, 29 percent from the Persian Gulf.  All significant Gulf states are in OPEC, but not all OPEC states are in the Gulf.

The top five suppliers by net percent were Canada (34 percent), Saudi Arabia (18 percent), Venezuela (12 percent), Russia (10 percent), and Mexico (6 percent).
7.4 million barrels a day equals 2.7 billion barrels a year, but the cost factors are even worse.  Rounded to $100 a barrel that means we are paying foreign suppliers $270 billion a year net, or $740 million a day, or $31 million an hour around the clock. On average, every household in America is paying foreign suppliers $2,350 a year.

None of this can measure the amount or value of American blood spilled to protect foreign oil sources.

There are good reason to keep the jobs, money, and loved ones close to home.  There are more than 30,000 enhanced wells in California and they have had no major environmental problems.

As the recent 400-page BLM-sponsored report said – properly managed the impacts of well stimulation are relatively limited for industry practice of today and will likely be limited in the future. Vote NO on J and save American jobs and American lives.

Marty Richman

Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Marty (Martin G.) spent his teen years in northern New Jersey. He served more than 22 years on active military duty, mostly in Europe, and is a retired U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 4, Nuclear Weapons Technical Officer. Marty then worked 25 years in various engineering and management positions in the electronics and energetic materials industries supporting the communications, computer, aerospace, defense and automotive sectors. He is a graduate, summa cum laude, from The College of Hard Knocks, among his numerous awards and accomplishments. He was a regular weekly Op/Ed columnist and feature writer for The Hollister Free Lance for seven years and a member of its editorial board for five years. Marty is a frequent commentator and contributor to BenitoLink on a wide variety of local, state, national and international subjects.   Marty was elected to represent the City of Hollister District 4 on the City Council in November, 2018. Marty and his wife, Joyce, have been residents of Hollister since 1996.