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Projection: US to Pay $440B for Imported Petroleum in 2008

Petroleum Intelligence Weekly (PIW) projects in its latest issue that the US will pay $440B for imported crude oil and finished petroleum products in 2008—an increase of some 300% since 2002.

The imported petroleum bill. Click to enlarge.

The increase to the estimated $440 billion for 2008 is based on an average $90 per barrel crude oil price for the year. In 2002, before the current bull market for oil began, US oil imports cost less than $103 billion. The preliminary figures for last year came to some $327 billion.

PIW calculates that the US paid out a record $245 billion for about 10 million barrels per day of crude oil imports in 2007, and another $82 billion for about 3.5 million b/d of imported oil products. With US crude production continuing to fall, demand for imports of high-priced transport fuels remaining strong, and oil prices around 30% higher year-on-year so far in 2008, PIW sees the bill continuing to rise.

With oil prices this year as strong or stronger than in 2007, any moderation in the US import bill must come from reduced volumes. While oil demand growth has slowed slightly in recent years due to both high prices and greater fuel efficiency, the higher quality of crude oil imports that US refiners require and the emphasis on high-quality transport fuels in the product import mix are likely to keep upward pressure on import costs even if volumes are stable, according to PIW.

Although “energy security” and “dependency on the Mideast” get the attention in the national debate over oil imports, huge and rapidly rising costs are of greater immediate economic significance, PIW says. Relatively secure supplies from Canada and Mexico account for about one third of crude imports.



Its so obvious that my 1988 Ford Festiva (averaged 45MPG & still have it) was needed in 1988 & is so much more important in 2008. I even took the bus at times despite my Festiva. Its time & way past time for gas guzzler people to reexamine their wants & see if their lives can operate even better with more efficient transportation. Surely they will have more money instead of burning unnecessary fuel.


How much can short term thinking be changed though? Housing is sprawling and specialized JIT production needs moving as well as food. There is a maximum amount that can be saved due to these infrastructure limitations from years of cheap energy. Should'a used the surplus in the good years for better things.


And they will spend less than $0.25 billion on solar/geothermal/hydro/wind combined.


"There is a maximum amount that can be saved due to these infrastructure limitations from years of cheap energy."

That's true -- but we're nowhere near that maximum.

In the immediate term, we could pass tax incentives on higher mpg vehicles at the purchase price, higher gas taxes, higher tolls on roads, more hov lanes, etc.

In the 3-5 year term, we could invest substantially in mass transit infrastructure -- both local and between cities.

In the 5-10 year term, we could start seeing results from changing zoning code now, as well as results from investing in elec-hybrid car infrastructure, which hopefully corresponds with a reduction in GHG generated from elec due to elec infrastructure improvements.

What is that maximum? I believe that we could cut our oil consumption by 3-5% per year indefinitely. There won't be one effort: it will have to be a comprehensive effort of fed, state, and local gov't tax, zoning, and regulatory policy.


Our soaring oil import bill is a disgrace and every congressmen, senator, and president that has held office over the past 20 years should bow his and her head in shame as the resulting damage to the U.S. economy and global environment grows to new heights.

The dollar is plummeting under the weight of endless U.S. budget and trade deficits, soaring dollar holdings worldwide, and all these cowards had to do was impose higher fuel and/or a carbon tax to reduce oil consumption and imports, encourage innovation, energy efficiency, and electrification of transportation. I think that future generations of Americans, saddled with a soaring federal and foreign debt, a hot and eventually dry climate, an environmental genocide resulting from the massive extinction of defenseless wildlife and plant life, will curse our current leadership and lack of action to clean up this mess. Buffet has it wrong.


"all these cowards had to do was impose higher fuel and/or a carbon tax to reduce oil consumption and imports"

The only way to have voters remove you from office any faster in the US is to be caught in bed with a young boy.

Harvey D

GreyFlcn + Mean&Green:

Yes, less than $1 billion a year for solar-geothermal-hydro-wind combined but $400+ billions a year for imported oil by 2008 (+ many more billions for imported NG, electricity and ethanol) is far from being a balanced (or intelligent) energy approach.

Add another $150+ billions for Oil wars and a possible $150+ a barrel oil price for 2009/10 and the situation may be a lot worse.

How can the American public agree and support such shortsighted (pro-oil) leadership when they very knew that 200 million gas guzzlers would quickly gulp 2 to 3 times the oil that USA can produce.

Changing 200 million (under 20/22 mpg) gas guzzlers for 200 million efficent 50+ mpg vehicles (hybrids-PHEVs and BEVs) is not an overnight affair and will take up to 20-25 years.

Producing corn ethanol and other biofuels at the rate of 18 million barrels/day is not possible without drastically reducing food production.

The choice (for the short and mid terms) may be between importing food or Oil to keep the inefficent fleet on the road.

A crash national program to develop, produce, promote and sell PHEVs + BEVs to replace the older (worse) gas guzzlers, at an accellerated rate (up to 10+ million units a year) could reduce the transition period by a few years. France is doing just that by offering up to $10K towards the purchase of a BEV to people who will scrap an older gas guzzler. Why coundn't USA do likewise for the purchase of PHEVs and BEVs and to take 10+ year old vehicles and gas guzzlers off the roads.


Lots can be done politically & hope that avenue gets started.

Americans have to see their individual economic choices are crucial to save America. For the decades I've driven my small cars to work, all I got was derision from those many people who thought only big guzzlers & trucks were the way Americans should live their lives.

I thought in the late 70's & early 80's, that gap had been bridged with the smaller cars I saw. However, Americans had only temporarily been drug to small cars & have since embraced the big again. I'm afraid even if Americans can be drug back to more efficient vehicles, they still won't subscribe to the things necessary to keep America healthy, economically & politically.


Truly sickening. $4 a gallon for your car, and billions to fight wars against scummy countries overseas. We're funding terrorism; paying to kill our own countrymen & military independence now!


Harvey, check this:

Harvey D


Are you saying that the average American would rather give up other essentials in order to keep driving their huge (monster) gas guzzlers.

If so, the 'bigger' & 'heavier' than yours addiction is rooted much deeper than I thought and USA may be in for a rough ride.

Turning every thing that grows into fuel may not provide the 15 to 20 million barrels a day required to feed this persistent addiction.

Will we see more costly Oil wars to ensure Oil supply?

Will much higher oil price make a difference and reduce consumption? If not, the trade deficit will reach new summits and the USA $ new lows. A lower USD means higher Oil price (in USA dollars).

Of course Canada could help with about 5 million barrels a day from the tar sands but the economic, environment and political price will be high.

Let's hope that the next generation will adopt other values.


This chart illustrates beautifuly the "Hard awakening" that america is due to, in the same time america will have to pay 140 billiaons / year for iraqui war and they forget to mention that we are becoming a net importer of natural gaz as well as coal since domestic production is stalling. With a collapsing dollards is going to be tough to buy more of this import of energu

The american dream is in jeopardy and that is only the beginning....


Santos, European politicians are able to charge higher fuel taxes, adopt congestion, carbon taxes and/or cap and trade, and sleep around while still staying in office. Note also that the Euro is one of the strongest currencies in the world, and energy prices are not increasing in Euro terms.

But you are right in one sense, we Americans elect these morons, even though they are helping to destroy our economy, our way of life, and our environment, while mortgaging our children's future through oil wars, and rising foreign and government debt. U.S. conservatives espouse a bankrupt ideology that advocates: tax cuts regardless of government spending levels; so-called free trade regardless of a country's human rights, labor and environmental practices; protecting the life of the conceived and unborn, but trashing the lives of future generations; pre-emptive war in anticipation of vague terrorist threats but do nothing policies with respect to climate change, environmental genocide, and the poverty of developing countries; safe haven for terrorists in allied countries (Pakistan and Saudi Arabia), but warfare with countries(e.g., Iraq) that are hostile to the U.S., even if they are state level rather than terrorist threats; and providing military protection to middle east oil producers so they can in turn fund Islamic terrorists and supply our international rivals with cheaper oil.



I'm not so sure about natural gas any more. Just recently new drilling methods have been developed that could free hundreds of trillions of cubic feet. As shown in this previous GCC article.

I doubt we'll become a net coal importer any time soon, since we simply have so much of it. Fear of carbon taxes has already shelved 1/3 of planned coal plants since last year to boot.

$4 a gallon for your car, and billions to fight wars against scummy countries overseas. We're funding terrorism; paying to kill our own countrymen & military members

It's a Win-Win situation for Halliburton, Blackwater, KBR, Exxon, GOP......


Witness the reaction I got from GCC people on buying a large pickup truck without a commercial need. It was as if you were saying "you will have to pry the steering wheel of my gas guzzler out of my cold dead hands".

If you do not have a commercial need for a gas guzzler, why do you persist in believing that it is a God given right to be wasteful and use the gasoline for 3 people in your 12 mpg pickup that you just use to commute in....oh and to tow that boat 2 Saturdays a year.

Dan A

I have a great idea. We're at war right--and our oil money is like a tax from the same people who our trying to shoot at us. So let's have us a good old fuel rationing. We did it in WW2, we can do it again. Starting in let's say 6 months (allow people time to reconfigure their scheduels), give a tiered system based on need, and that's it. If you need more--tough luck. Have the feds subsidize public transportation more and increase service.



I confirm that america is net importer of coal, and the america coal reserves that we have heard so many times that they are so huge are probably well overstated. Do you know that if the quantity of coal extracted each years in US is still growing, in fact the total amount of energy extracted has already peaked in the end 90s since the quality of coal we extract today is way inferior to what we used to. A recent study of the Energy Watch Group (a Germa enerhy consulting group who predicted the peak of the oil north sea production) showed recently that the production of coal in us would probably peak a couple decades from now. So for the natural gas I know that new horizontal drilling techniques could improve the extraction, but like all enhanced recovery they are probably efficient only in a limited number of cases.

But will see.



Look at this link

but suggest you to type "peak coal" on google

Are you aware that U.K. recently downgraded theiir coal reserves by 90% ? yes 90%. The problem is that except energy watch group recently they haven't been any audit on the coal reserves in US since 1970s. I bet you that onc the peal oil would be admitted widely will hear about peak coal...

For the natural gas, in the link you posted even 168 Trillions cub feet gas would provide 6 years additional US consumption, significant but really that much, when you look at the ability of america to waste energy.


Treehugger: Why don't we just worry about one "peak" at a time. I've noticed a tendency over on the "theoildrum" to always use the worst possible assumptions leading to the worst possible outcome. The "doomer" mindset is attractive to some but not always constructive. As an example, If you are concerned about the environment then you are likely to have a strong desire for our energy supplies to run out, and the human population to crash in order to save the species of the planet planet that are currently going extinct.



I am afraid that in the incoming decades we will go from one peak to another...but no I am not a doomer who is just expecting the whole thing to collapse with contentment. I am just trying to point out that fleeing from one energy fossil to antother will not necessary help us while agressive energy conservation strategy could help a lot when stimulating the economy and even improving our quality of life. (example : if american were using more bicyle they would be more fit :) with less heart diseases and the industry of bicycle would florish, but also the quality of life in our cities will be much better)


I've said it before and I'll say it again. Just to appease the AGW deniers, let's forget about that consequence for just a sec:

This is a NATIONAL SECURITY ISSUE. We are transferring over $400 billion in wealth to parties that are generally unfriendly to the United States (OK, that's an exaggeration: Canada's our largest importer and they're fairly friendly, but you get the point).

How are these so-called Neocons OK with that?


Treehugger, don't forget to include (in your calculations of health cost) the increase in injuries and deaths resulting from an increase in bicyclists. Many drivers don't pay attention well enough to properly share the road and many bicyclists don't have a clue when it comes to traffic laws (riding through cross walks, running stop signs, running red lights, etc).

You will either have bicyclists in roads without properly marked bike lanes or bicyclists running down pedestrians on sidewalks. Actual bike lanes are sparse in many areas.


How are these so-called Neocons OK with that?
They're making bank yo!



You are right but then we will have to make the car "bicycle gentle" and the bicycle "pedestrian gentle" quite a techno-challenge that will motivate VC to invest in... :)

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