The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) has predicted that US oil imports will fall to their lowest level in over 25 years by 2014. By then the US is projected to only import 32% of its oil, down from 60% in 2005. This will decrease crude oil and other petroleum product imports to 6 million barrels per day, half as many barrels as in 2005.
The decline in imports is a result of the US producing more crude oil domestically using new drilling techniques to access “tight oil.” Tight oil, which is produced from reservoirs with relatively low porosity and permeability, requires techniques such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling to extract the oil. In addition, Americans are using less oil and buying more fuel-efficient vehicles, leading to a decrease in demand for foreign oil.
The US has much to gain from a decreased reliance on oil imports. A growing domestic oil industry will help to shrink the US trade deficit and strengthen the US economy. The oil and natural gas industries alone contributed $481 billion to the US economy in 2011. The EIA also expects that increased US production will put downward pressure on oil prices.