Middle East OilAmericans have never shied away from burning oil. We like big vehicles and horsepower; accordingly, cheap gasoline has fueled a reliance on imported petroleum.

Except for a short blip after the oil crises of the 1970s, when fuel-efficient cars became all the rage, oil imports have risen steadily for the past four decades. But only when gas prices also started to rise, leading up to the most recent recession, did we really start to care about how much oil we were importing.

Between the "Drill Baby, Drill" political banter and the near-constant drone about our "reliance on foreign oil," you might think that the U.S. is in an energy crisis.

What Crisis?

That was true: From 1973 to 2005, net oil imports rose from 6,025 barrels per day to 12,549 barrels per day, or 60.3% of our consumption. But that's not the story any more. In fact, it may not be long till we can tell the Middle East: You're fired!

Our dependence on foreign oil is actually falling, and the day we can rid ourselves of oil from the Middle East may now be on the horizon.

While politicians talked about how burdensome regulations were, and how we should expand drilling to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, a magic thing happened: We started importing less oil.

From 2005 to 2011, the percent of oil we net import has fallen from 60.3% of consumption to 47% of consumption.

Year
Net Imports (thousands per day)
Total Consumption (thousands per day)
Percent Net Oil Imports
2005
12,549
20,802
60.3%
2006
12,390
20,687
59.9%
2007
12,036
20,680
58.2%
2008
11,114
19,498
57%
2009
9,667
18,771
51.5%
2010
9,440
19,148
49.3%
2011
8,908
18,946
47%
*Source: EIA.

In the meantime, as people were talking about high oil prices, the industry started taking advantage of new technologies to extract oil profitably and domestically.

Oil shale became all the rage, as companies from Kodiak Oil & Gas (KOG) to Continental Resources (CLR) started drilling wells as fast as they could. And even though it's only made a small dent, offshore drilling hasn't hurt, either. From 2005 to 2010 the amount of crude oil coming out of the Gulf of Mexico increased by 334,000 barrels per day. As drillers like Seadrill (SDRL), Transocean (RIG), and DryShips (DRYS) add more deepwater rigs to their fleets, the Gulf of Mexico should continue to add to our oil supply.

Ohhh, Canada!

Shale and offshore drilling haven't been alone in reducing our reliance on Middle Eastern oil. Oil sands in Canada could replace much of the oil supply now coming to us from across the Atlantic.

According to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, the Canadian oil sands yielded 1.47 million barrels of oil per day in 2010. That number's expected to jump to 3.7 million barrels per day by 2025. That growth has helped make Canada our No. 1 oil supplier, providing 26.9% of our oil in 2010, up from just 17.4% in 2005.

The Mysterious Case of the Disappearing Demand

As oil started to flow from new sources in North America, another strange thing happened: Oil consumption began falling. Yes, the recession hurt demand, but demand has fallen every year since 2005, and overall consumption is down 8.9% over that time.

That trend should continue as vehicles get more efficient in the U.S. Ford (F), General Motors (GM), and other auto manufacturers recently agreed to increased fuel efficiency standards that will keep the downward consumption trend going. By 2025, the company's fleets of cars and light trucks will have to achieve 54.5 miles per gallon on average, saving another 2.2 million barrels of oil per day.

We Don't Need Your Stinkin' Oil

In 2010, we imported 1,711 thousand barrels of oil from the Persian Gulf, a decrease of 26.7% from 2005. OPEC imports, which include Venezuela and Nigeria, have also fallen 12.2% over that time.

As efficiency rises, oil shale and offshore production increases, and countries like Canada and Brazil step up production, we may finally be able to stop sending our money to the Middle East for oil.

At the very least, we're headed in the right direction. And with countries like China increasing demand and importing more oil (which, I've pointed out, could lead to an energy crisis in that country), this change may have arrived just in time.

Motley Fool contributor Travis Hoium does not have a position in any company mentioned. You can follow Travis on Twitter at @FlushDrawFool. The Motley Fool owns shares of Transocean and Ford Motor. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Ford Motor and General Motors.


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Morris Cantonitis

U fill buckets of bail money for criminal Wall Alley and Financial PIGGS and desecrate the American people. See how U like using those buckets to bail out Satan’s Ocean little piglets.
Satan has a REAL big “Boner” for his Speaker Lucifer. The Speaker sits on it 4 daze before he swallows Satans spew and gets orgasmic as Satan moves his black anal serpentine trident side to side.
The Kingdom of Christ walks far far away from the CONTINUING PIGGDOM and Satan brings U End Time.
No global warming, No Black Hole Location, No Sun solar flares. These are ALL the MASKS & faces of Satan and his Legion.
Get it little piglets.
THERE IS ONLY 1 KING and 1 Kingdom.
HIS NAME IS JESUS CHRIST and the 2 legged mis-creations of EVIL in the United States and the World HAVE SHAMEd GOOD Man & all the other EQUAL creations of Christ in 2011, 201x, 201 from sea animals to a tree.
Bow DOWN to him NOW atheist PIGGS and REPENT mis-created Red Plague and Wall Alley PIGGS.
Satan continues to beat the hell out of the United States brought to U by the calling of the Red Plague and Wall Alley PIGGS and Satan has a special coming for them. Satan and his Legion continue to PRACTICE across the World today but Now he GASSES UP for More Great times at Seven Eleven.
Behold the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, American Red PIGG atheist leadership since U choose to walk with the PIGG.
All that place a weapon to an animal, U shame Infinity. Your BLOODLINES are not safe PIGGS.
All that breech our Ocean floors for FILTH and seep POISON into the Creators Ocean shame Infinity. Your BLOODLINES are not safe PIGGS.
Financial PIGGS & MM PIGGS that STEAL the wealth of America & World electronically shame Infinity. Your BLOODLINES are not safe PIGGS.
Regulators and financial PIGGS continue sodomizing each other.
Broken and unrepairable PIGGS of GREED & Sodomy & oily filth.
The Mayans saw it & Edgar Casey too. 1000% correcto.

September 02 2011 at 1:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Morris Cantonitis

Do U still not believe in the unseen Red Plague, Wall Alley & World PIGGS in 2011, 201x, 201?
America & the World know how U steal its wealth with criminal UNSEEN electronics, Phcking PIGGS.
Whatz WRONG PIGGS?
DO U not Like to HEAR from the TRUMPETEER?
It DOES NOT MATTER TO Satan fithy little PiGlets. He comes for U War ning OR NOT and his #1 pork barbecue hot n spicy feast is how he likes it and how he shall have it. Satan flies HIGH over U Wall Alley PIGGS. You and your bloodlines graves ARE DUG.
The World’s PIGGS and the PIGGDOM Earth WILL SOON Cleanse & Change. Satan now consumes it.
Satan sits across in Africa laughing out loud as he tosses Hurkies at the U.S.
Satan Shakes me, Shake me Baby and next is FALL BUILDING Fall. Just b at work Wall Alley criminal PIGGS. P. Robertson is correct. Christ lifted his veil of protection in 911 and U see how Satan now sits atop the Washington Monument taunting US and World PIGG EVILS.
China hacks the US electrical system DOWN.
Russia launches the NUKES on the US PUKES.
N. Korea & Iran FINISH off the Western PIGG with chemical sprinklings.
ALL BROUGHT TO U by the EVIL Man made up of Red Plague & US Financial PIGGS
Satan compensation across the World and Satan prepares his Legion for BIGGER & BETTER things as EVIL grows till END TIME.

September 02 2011 at 1:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Healing Hills

United Refining Company (Kwik Fill, Red Apple, Wilson Farms, Country Fair, Choice Discount Tobacco, etc.) LOVES to BOAST that they buy ONLY North American Crude Oil!
Yes they do! CANADA Oil Tank Railroad Cars line the receiving yard in Warren, PA by the MILE!
Drill Baby DRILL!

September 02 2011 at 9:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Daniel Ahearn

Why isn't oil imported from Canada and Mexico included in "imported "?

September 01 2011 at 5:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
wandmminton

The Canadian paragraph shows once again how wise our founding fathers were.

Why do not follow the course they set out on, alas unsuccsessfully, in 1778 and 1812 and invade and incorporate the Canadian provinces as members of the United States.

Makes a lot more sense than flailing around in Iraq, Libya and the rest of the near East,

September 01 2011 at 5:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
spr0405

We don't need Middle-East oil to the extent that we could "drill baby drill," but that's not the point. The urgency lies in the fact that global production will peek in the next ten or less years. As competion for this limited resource increases those countries which lack it will compete fearcely for it. Importantly countries such as China, Japan, India, and most of Europe. On the down slope of pruduction from the middle-east and Venezuelan (also potentially Cuban) the only twp powers with large reserves of undeveloped resources are Russia and the U.S. Demand is hugely increasing in China and India as in the rest of Asia. The global economy runs on oil in every manor imaginable. So, when everyone has used up their las drop of oil and natural gas and the only two countries they can turn to is Russia and the U.S. we'll be sitting pretty. It migh be the only way to pay off that 14 trillion (by then probably 20 trillion) is to keep our resouces undeveloped while consuming as much of the global market supply....Sure it increases prices for us, but this creates a margin of time for our economy to transition to other sources or at least more efficient uses of energy.

September 01 2011 at 4:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
granaryst

With Obama and thugs spending us into 3rd world status, we won't be able to buy their oil before long anyway. He and his administration should be on trial for treason.

September 01 2011 at 4:34 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
scrupie

Tell them stick the mid east oil up their axxxes. If the government would get their noses out of everyone elses butts we could develop enough resources in the USA and CANADA . Tim to tell all the countries to ether join in or get lost. Let them pay us for plicing their countries since they are to dum and stupid to handle their own. First thin g to do here is get read of the idiots that we elected as we surely have screwed up. Fuel from Algae is coming, and works without using up fuel food stock.Look up Originoil, up and coming company.Or searced Oil from Algae on goggle.

September 01 2011 at 3:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
donny3666

THE SPECULATORS-THE SPECULATORS! When demand decreases we will see the speculators find something to speculate on.

September 01 2011 at 11:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Pat

alaska has more then all of these sources in the US but it's not mentioned once

September 01 2011 at 10:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Pat's comment
dabrownman

Actually the Shale deposits in teh USA have way more oil than Alaska ever will. The USA has more reserve=s of oil than Saudi Arabia, It's Just that the left won't let anyone get it because the price of oil would fall an if gasoline is not $4 a gallon minimum then their green electric cars and expensive hybrids will never ever sell and the earth might warm up to spawn another ice age or flash mob robbery epidemic.

September 01 2011 at 5:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply