Oil dependency is defined by the requirement of one nation to get a majority of their oil from another country as an import. Many countries have some form of oil dependency, but the one that has had the most problems with this issue over the decades has been the United States.
The United States uses nearly 400 million gallons of oil every day to be able to maintain the nation’s quality of life.
Oil Dependency Facts
There are 42 gallons in a standard barrel of oil and this is the foundation of what our vehicles use for fuel. The process is inefficient, however, as 19 gallons of gasoline come from one barrel of oil. This means that some vehicles on the road use one full barrel of oil every time they fill up their tank at the gas station. In 2014, Americans consumed about 375 million gallons of gasoline per day. This represented approximately 47% of total domestic petroleum consumption.
- The United States uses about 400 million gallons of oil every day moving people in automobiles, goods on freight truck, air travel, railroads, and transit.
- On a normal traffic day, cars and light trucks that most households use consume 9 million barrels of oil every day.
- 70% of the oil that is used by the U.S. isn’t used for heating – it’s used for transportation needs.
- The percentage of oil that comes from nations that the U.S. has deemed to be high risk: 68%.
- Americans send over $1 billion abroad every day to pay for oil.
Oil might be in abundance, but by its nature it is a finite resource. Being dependent as a society on oil will put everyone onto a path of eventual disaster. It may not be in our lifetimes and it may not even be three or four generations from now, but one day it will happen. It is up to us to change our habits and look for options beyond oil dependency. Not only does this dependency put a nation at risk of a complete shutdown if the foreign suppliers decide to pull the plug, but it also means that we are paying for a commodity that could spell our ruin. If we take action now, then we can all make the needed down payment that is required to get off of oil for good.
What Are The Results of Oil Dependency?
- 19 pounds of carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere for every gallon of gasoline that is burned.
- Americans produce 7.2 billion pounds of carbon every day that interacts with the atmosphere and a vast majority of scientists believe this is one of the foundations for global warming.
- The U.S. has lost jobs and there is an increasing amount of dollars in the hands of foreigners who are increasingly relied upon to finance deficits.
- From now to 2020, world oil consumption will rise by about 60%.
- 83% of global oil reserves will be controlled by Middle Eastern regimes by 2020 at current rates.
- The amount of the world reserves of oil that the United States owns: 3%.
- With 1.3 billion people, China has yet to tap the amount of oil that could be consumed, which at U.S. rates, would have a potential of 1.6 trillion gallons of oil every day.
That number is staggering. If China used the same amount of oil that Americans use, they would use 1.6 trillion gallons of oil every day. That’s why it is so critical for the U.S. to get out of the oil industry as soon as possible. Current measures that are in place are expected to save up to 75% of the oil that is used in the United States every day, but that still means more than 100 million gallons of oil will be used every single day – and those cost savings measures aren’t expected to be fully realized until 2030. By being conscious of our use of oil on a personal level every day, we can reduce oil consumption together, reduce the carbon impact to our environment, and ultimately provide a better world for a children, grandchildren, and future generations.
Is Oil Dependency Getting Worse?
- In 2010, the United States imported less than 50% of the oil that was consumed by the country. That was the first time in 13 years that had happened.
- Since 2005, the trends of oil imports have been declining gradually every year.
- The amount of tax subsidies that the United States offers to oil and gas companies on an annual basis: $4 billion.
- About 24 trillion cubic feet of natural gas every year would be needed to replace the amount of oil that is imported by the United States every year.
- It is estimated that the U.S. has between 1.5 and 2.5 quadrillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves.
- At current rates, the total reserves of natural gas, if it replaced imported oil completely, would last only 60 years in the worst case scenario.
- Up to 5% of the costs of fuel and oil importation comes from pricing premiums that are set by oil producing nations.
Here is where the hard decisions need to be made. Oil imports by the United States are down, but they are still extensive. It means that 200 million gallons of oil are being imported every single day according to these figures. Americans are paying a 5% premium on each gallon of oil that is being burned. There is also no controls on the price of oil because it is traded as a commodity, so even internal production increases won’t necessarily change the prices that are being paid for oil or at the gas station. Natural gas could be a temporary solution, but it isn’t a long-term solution. In order to be continually viable, the United States and other world powers who import their oil need to find alternative solutions that are abundant, low cost, and efficient to produce.
What Are The Solutions That Could End Oil Dependency?
- A gradual increase to a 45 mile per gallon standard for cars and light trucks would save nearly $2 trillion in fuel costs by 2025.
- By increasing fuel efficiencies to the 45 mpg mark, more than 2 million barrels of oil, or more than 84 million gallons, would be saved every day.
- When these cost savings measures are added into EPA plans to save on oil consumption, the U.S. would use less than 20 million gallons of oil per day – or 5% of what is currently used.
- By 2016, there could be a solar PV system deployed in America every 80 seconds.
- By the end of 2015, global solar capacity is expected to reach more than 200 gigawatts.
- Only 4 countries produce 10 gigawatts of solar power internally – the U.S. became the fourth country in 2013.
- 51% of solar installations occur without any subsidies.
- Germany’s wind and solar installations provided 59% of power in the middle of the day.
The problem that the United States faces is this: are the people of this nation willing to transition into new technologies that are cleaner, more efficient, and ultimately less costly than burning oil? The transition would not be an easy one. Americans burn millions of gallons of oil just to get to work every day and back. Removing that would create difficulties in lifestyles and potentially job deficits for long-range commuters. There are technologies that could replace oil burning needs, but they aren’t fully developed. If $1 billion per day, or $365 billion per year, was put into research for alternative fuels instead of oil imports, how fast could new technologies be produced that would limit the amount of lifestyle pain that Americans would face?
These Is A Lot At Stake To End Oil Dependence
- In 2008 figures, Americans consumed 23% of the total global oil that was burned for various needs.
- More than 50% of U.S. imports come from the Western Hemisphere, but billions are being spent in high risk nations that support interests that are contrary to American interests.
- Climate change, whether caused be carbon deposits from oil burning or through naturally occurring weather patterns, could destabilize the country and the world because of new famine areas.
- ExxonMobil is the leading importer of oil from high risk nations, bringing in over 200 million barrels per year.
- ExxonMobil posted a profit of $45.2 billion in 2008 while getting 43% of its oil from high risk nations.
Companies are making billions of dollars and people are paying more in fuel costs for transportation, heating, and basic needs. Oil dependency has been reduced over the last decade, but at an extremely slow pace. The United States is just starting to return to levels that were seen in the 1990’s. Until real improvements are made and alternative sources of energy are discovered, it is very feasible to say that the U.S. is a superpower in name only. Why? Because other countries control the purse strings.