Domestic Production Causing Oil Imports to Plummet

For decades, the American presidents and congress have promised to reduce our dependence on foreign oil (as you can see in this video below):

Promises were made to reduce imports  of foreign oil by everything from cellulosic ethanol to solar energy. None of these big-government programs worked. After the oil shocks of the 1970s, U.S. oil imports steadily increased from the mid 1980s through 2005 when high oil prices put a damper on U.S. oil consumption.

But starting in about 2008, private enterprise began production from shale formations like  the Bakken formation in North Dakota and Eagle Ford formation in Texas started to dramatically increase and as a result, U.S. net oil imports have been plummeting. In fact, our oil imports are the lowest they have been since 1987.[1]


In a new report from the Energy Information Administration, they project that the U.S. could completely eliminate oil imports if oil production continues to increase.

EIA’s best guess of future oil production also has the U.S. approaching all times highs in oil production by 2019 and surpassing it earlier if production continues to increase at current rates.

Oil production in the U.S. is booming, but it has been limited to those areas where the federal government’s role is non-existent. This could change, if the Obama administration got serious about increasing oil production by opening up the less than 3 percent of federal lands and waters that are leased for oil production. The future of oil production in the U.S. could be bright if the federal government began to see increased energy production as a good thing for the nation.

IER Director of Regulatory and State Affairs Daniel Simmons authored this post.

[1] Energy Information Administration, U.S. Net Imports of Crude Oil and Petroleum Products,

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