Hi-Fella Insights

Uncovering the Truth: How Much Oil Does the US Import and Why It Matters

In the realm of energy, the United States stands as one of the most prominent players on the global stage. But how much oil does the US import, and why should it matter to you? 

This comprehensive article aims to provide a detailed overview of the amount of oil the United States imports, where it comes from, and why it holds substantial implications for the nation’s economy and energy security. 

Whether you’re an energy analyst, policymaker, investor, student, or simply someone intrigued by the intricate web of oil imports in the United States, this piece is designed to quench your curiosity.


Before we delve into the intricacies of America’s oil imports, let’s start with some hard-hitting facts. According to the CEIC Data, in 2022, the United States imported a staggering 6,278,000 barrels of crude oil per day. These numbers are not stagnant; they’ve evolved over the years. The data, which has been consistently updated since 1980, averaged at 7,363,000 barrels per day from 1980 to 2022, with a total of 43 observations. It hit an all-time high of 10,126,000 barrels per day in 2005 and a record low of 3,201,000 barrels per day in 1985.

Historical and Current Data on US Oil Imports

Understanding the historical trends in US oil imports is crucial to appreciating the contemporary scenario. Over the past four decades, the United States has shown a diverse pattern in the quantity of oil it imports. 

The fluctuation from the record low in 1985 to the peak in 2005 mirrors the nation’s ever-changing energy landscape. As we progress further into the 21st century, it’s essential to keep these historical trends in mind.

Current Import Figures

Jumping to the present, let’s shed light on the recent figures. The U.S. Energy and Information Administration’s data for the latter half of 2021 revealed that the United States imported between 8.1-8.8 million barrels of crude oil per day. It’s a staggering quantity and reflects the nation’s significant dependence on oil imports. What’s noteworthy is that a substantial portion, just over a million barrels per day, comes from OPEC nations. Among them, Saudi Arabia plays a leading role, contributing roughly 550,000 barrels per day.

Top Oil-Exporting Countries to the US

Leading Sources of US Oil Imports

You might wonder, which countries are the key players in supplying oil to the United States? Saudi Arabia is one, as we’ve already discovered, but there’s a broader picture to explore. Other significant sources of US oil imports include Canada, Mexico, and Venezuela. These countries have long-standing relationships with the U.S. in terms of oil trade.

The Role of OPEC Nations

Delving deeper into the dynamics of oil imports, OPEC nations deserve a spotlight. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries plays a pivotal role in shaping the United States’ oil imports. The strategies and decisions made by OPEC countries have direct implications for the U.S. economy and energy security.

Economic Implications of Oil Imports

Trade Balances

The quantity of oil the United States imports directly affects its trade balances. A high dependency on oil imports can lead to trade deficits, which can have cascading effects on the nation’s economy. Understanding this aspect is vital for anyone interested in the economic landscape of the U.S.

Energy Prices

Oil imports also have a substantial impact on energy prices in the United States. Any fluctuation in the global oil market, especially decisions made by OPEC nations, can lead to price hikes or declines in energy costs. These price fluctuations affect every American, from individual consumers to businesses.

Job Creation

Oil imports are not just about economics; they’re also about employment. The oil industry is a significant source of jobs in the United States. By scrutinizing the quantity of oil imports and how it affects the domestic oil sector, we can gain insights into job creation and its importance for the workforce.

The Impact on Energy Security

Energy security is a term that often hovers around discussions on oil imports. As we uncover the quantity and sources of US oil imports, we’ll explore how this ties into the nation’s energy security. Ensuring a reliable and consistent supply of oil is a crucial aspect of a country’s energy security strategy.


In conclusion, the amount of oil the United States imports is a critical piece of the nation’s energy puzzle. It’s a multifaceted story that involves historical trends, international relationships, economic implications, and energy security. For energy analysts, policymakers, investors, students, or anyone interested in understanding the intricate dynamics of oil imports in the U.S., these insights are invaluable.

As we’ve seen from the data, the United States remains a significant importer of crude oil. It also participates in a complex web of global energy trade, with diverse consequences for its economy and energy security. In an era where energy sustainability and security are paramount, gaining knowledge about the quantity and sources of oil imports is essential. It’s not just a matter of statistics; it’s a matter of national energy strategy and global positioning.

To stay informed and engaged in discussions on America’s oil imports is to understand a vital facet of the nation’s energy landscape. As the world of energy continues to evolve, these insights will only become more crucial for making informed decisions and shaping the future of U.S. energy.


(1) US Crude Oil: Imports, 1980 – 2023 | CEIC Data.

(2) US Oil Imports by Country 2023 – World Population Review.

(3) Oil imports and exports – U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

(4) U.S. energy facts – imports and exports – U.S. Energy Information.