Since the Arab oil embargoes of the 1960s and 70s, it’s been conventional wisdom to talk about American dependence on oil from the Persian Gulf. But the global oil market has changed dramatically since then.
Today, the U.S. actually gets most of its imported oil from Canada and Latin America.
And many Americans might be surprised to learn that the U.S. now imports roughly the same amount of oil from Africa as it does from the Persian Gulf. African imports were a bit higher in 2010, while Persian Gulf oil accounted for a bit more last year.
America is one of the world’s largest oil producers, and close to 40 percent of U.S. oil needs are met at home. Most of the imports currently come from five countries: Canada, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Venezuela and Nigeria.
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Canada is far and away the biggest purveyor of crude to its southern neighbor, hitting a record 2.2 million barrels a day last year as its share of the U.S. market grew by 12 percent.
Energy expert Robert Rapier says the take-away for Americans may be “marry a Canadian,” because he or she will be a citizen of an increasingly rich country. “Their budget looks good, and they’re sitting on top of tremendous reserves,” he says.
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