Why Have U.S. Oil Imports Declined in Recent Years?
by John Miller (The Energy Collective) …All politics aside, what factors have actually contributed towards reducing U.S. oil imports recently?
…Since 1973 U.S. domestic oil production (crude oil + natural gas (NG) liquids) declined continuously to a minimum of 6.7 MBD in 2008. This decline of production was due to a combination of restricted access to on-/offshore reserves and depletion of existing fully developed reserves. Oil + NG liquids production have increased continuously over the past four years largely due to significant drilling technology development breakthroughs. U.S. total petroleum oil consumption has varied from a low of 15.2 MBD in 1983 up to a maximum of 20.8 MBD in 2005. Petroleum oil consumption has declined since 2005 due to a number of factors that will be covered in detail.
…The Transportation sector has overwhelmingly been the largest source of reduced petroleum oil consumption among all End-use sectors. Which Transportation modes have contributed most towards this reduced petroleum oil consumption?
…The largest source of reduced Transportation sector and total U.S. petroleum motor fuels consumption is gasoline. During 2008-12 reduced petroleum gasoline consumption was about 310 KBD (thousand barrels per day), which is equivalent to 35% of total U.S. reduced petroleum oil consumption. The cause for reduced petroleum gasoline consumption is due to a combination of new vehicles improved fuel efficiency, increased biofuels, and the economic recession.
…The balance of reduced Transportation sector gasoline and total U.S. net petroleum oil imports is due to increasing biofuels; primarily conventional ethanol. Not shown in Table: DOE/EIA MER Petroleum Overview Data 2008-12 is the increased conventional corn ethanol (and smaller amounts of soybean biodiesel). Increased ethanol biofuels accounted for about 45% of the total reduced Transportation petroleum gasoline consumption 2008-12. Increased ethanol (and biodiesel) blending resulted from the latest ‘Renewable Fuel Standard’ (RFS2); also created under EISA 2007. Similar to the bulk of new LDV purchases, the current Administration’s policies did not significantly affect biofuels production-consumption 2008-12.
…This analysis indicates the Administration’s continued support of renewable power and increased Residential efficiency, and the new CARS program have contributed to about 8% of total reduced U.S. petroleum oil consumption and about 2% of total reduced U.S. oil imports. READ MORE