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US Oil Imports from Saudi Arabia Spike 20% This Year

US Oil Imports from Saudi Arabia Spike 20% This Year

Americans tend to overestimate the amount of oil that we import from the Middle East. Most believe that’s where most of our oil comes from, which is far from the truth. In reality, we get less than 20% from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and the rest of the Persian Gulf combined. Our top oil provider is Canada, in fact, and Mexico comes in third.

But we still do rely rather heavily on Saudi Arabia’s output, which is why this is front-page news: U.S. Reliance on Oil From Saudi Arabia Is Growing Again.

Imports have apparently spiked 20% this year, due largely to the sanctions on Iran. Here’s the NY Times:

The United States tightened sanctions that hampered Iran’s ability to sell crude, the lifeline of its troubled economy, and Saudi Arabia agreed to increase production to help guarantee that the price did not skyrocket. While prices have remained relatively stable, and Tehran’s treasury has been squeezed, the United States is left increasingly vulnerable to a region in turmoil.

Analysts expect the spike to be temporary, and the nature of our dependence on oil in the region shouldn’t be dramatically altered. But still. It does once again illustrate how our reliance on the region for oil, and how easy it’d be to run into a crisis.

As such, expect to hear pro-Keystone XL language deploy this development as a talking point—Canadian (and American) industry groups are already bluntly campaigning in favor of the tar sands pipeline on the grounds that it’d give the U.S. more oil from a “friendly neighbor.” They ran ads insinuating that if you’re against the tar sands, you’re for oppressive regimes like Saudi Arabia’s. But do remember—that oil is headed for sail on the international market, and wouldn’t really have much of an impact on domestic supply.

That said, we should of course be looking much more vigorously for true alternatives: pursuing electric cars, cellulosic ethanol, biofuels, etc. This nasty oil dependence of ours has gone on long enough.

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42 comments

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10:12AM PST on Jan 13, 2013

Thank you TreeHugger, for Sharing this!

11:14AM PDT on Sep 10, 2012

Lol we rely heavily on oil.

8:42PM PDT on Sep 1, 2012

If you want to hurt the global corporations that are controlling our lives..I suggest that we walk more & drive less...buy locally grown/produced items....turn off the tv and read (no commercials that may influence you to buy things you don't need)...and never trust a politician you do not personally know..

9:16PM PDT on Aug 27, 2012

I know oil is oil but I would love to see the United States not importing any oil from the Middle East at all. I wish alternative fueled cars were more prevalent in the United States.

7:47PM PDT on Aug 27, 2012

People of the world it does not matter here we get the oil. did you know that burning fossil fuel make us water if you use my machine. The oil must be different because it makes a lot of water

8:03AM PDT on Aug 27, 2012

why are we exporting so much oil to import oil from the Middle East?

1:06AM PDT on Aug 27, 2012

Pametnom je i jedna dosta.

3:26PM PDT on Aug 26, 2012

People need to read what T. Boone Pickens has to say about natural gas v. oil.

12:07PM PDT on Aug 26, 2012

Vivanne M, What is occurring in the Gulf, is often explained as the Oil companies reaching a point where the oil is too expensive to continue "production." They will return, when oil "hits" $200 a barrel, just as they are using Hydraulic Fracturing, also known as "super fracking" or as we refer to it as Friggin' Frackin'.

Fracking is a last ditch effort to extract the remaining product, no matter the cost...the cost to the people who live near by and who will have to endure the future effects.

11:59AM PDT on Aug 26, 2012

Ron B, Excellant observation, just another thing that Government and the Oil Industry would rather not have the people know, after all, they, the people might want to know why they must subsidize the program.

Such nasty business, yes, deceit being one form, but the "production" from tar sands is both dirty and quite expensive. The people of Alberta shall come to know how expensive it will become for them, a pay check today and they will have to pay the bill later.

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