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When referring to U.S. imports of petroleum, it is important to make the distinction between total imports and net imports. Net imports are equal to the amount of total imported petroleum minus the petroleum that is exported by the U.S. In the 1970s the difference between total and net imports was minor. However, as the U.S. exports more petroleum, the gap between total imports and net imports grows. In 2011, net imports of petroleum were 44.8% of U.S. petroleum consumption, but total imports of petroleum in 2011 were 60.3% of consumption.

Total Imports, Net Imports, and Exports of Petroleum, 1973-2011
Graphic showing total petroleum imports and petroleum net imports (the amount of total imported petroleum minus the petroleum that is exported by the U.S.) and the gap between the two from 1973 to 2011. See table below for more detailed information.

 

Supporting Information

U.S. Petroleum Total Imports, Net Imports, and Exports, 1973-2011 (million barrels per day)
Year Imports Exports Net Imports
1973 6.3 0.2 6.0
1974 6.1 0.2 5.9
1975 6.1 0.2 5.8
1976 7.3 0.2 7.1
1977 8.8 0.2 8.6
1978 8.4 0.4 8.0
1979 8.5 0.5 8.0
1980 6.9 0.5 6.4
1981 6.0 0.6 5.4
1982 5.1 0.8 4.3
1983 5.1 0.7 4.3
1984 5.4 0.7 4.7
1985 5.1 0.8 4.3
1986 6.2 0.8 5.4
1987 6.7 0.8 5.9
1988 7.4 0.8 6.6
1989 8.1 0.9 7.2
1990 8.0 0.9 7.2
1991 7.6 1.0 6.6
1992 7.9 0.9 6.9
1993 8.6 1.0 7.6
1994 9.0 0.9 8.1
1995 8.8 0.9 7.9
1996 9.5 1.0 8.5
1997 10.2 1.0 9.2
1998 10.7 0.9 9.8
1999 10.9 0.9 9.9
2000 11.5 1.0 10.4
2001 11.9 1.0 10.9
2002 11.5 1.0 10.5
2003 12.3 1.0 11.2
2004 13.1 1.0 12.1
2005 13.7 1.2 12.5
2006 13.7 1.3 12.4
2007 13.5 1.4 12.0
2008 12.9 1.8 11.1
2009 11.7 2.0 9.7
2010 11.8 2.4 9.4
2011 11.4 2.9 8.4

Source: Energy Information Administration, Monthly Energy Review, May 2012, Table 3.3a.

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