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How reliant is the United States on imported fossil fuels? The facts may be surprising.

It may be surprising to many people that the United States gets the majority of its crude oil and petroleum from countries other than those in the Middle East. New data released in June 2011 by the U.S. Energy Information Administration show that only about 18 percent of crude and petroleum came from the Middle Eastern countries of Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates in 2010. The majority of the crude and petroleum imported to the U.S. came from the Western Hemisphere, with approximately 49 percent coming from North, South, and Central America, and the Caribbean, including U.S. territories.

The U.S. consumed 19.1 million barrels per day (MMbd) in 2010 of petroleum products, and dependence on foreign oil has declined since 2005, and several factors come into play as to why. The economic situation has played a role, but there are also factors like increased efficiency and changes in consumer patterns. Domestic biofuels production has helped the U.S. to decrease foreign oil reliance as well, but there have also been changes such as domestic production of crude increasing along with increased natural gas use.

These new statistics also show a more prominent message, which is society is in fact experiencing a paradigm shift towards different sources of fuel and also conserving what we have. Part of this is due to new mandates on efficiency, but new technologies are allowing us to utilize new and innovative sources of energy as well. We have a limited amount of oil and petroleum in the ground and what took millions of years to create is only taking hundreds to use up. Conserving this precious commodity is necessary for a sustainable future and to ensure future generations are allowed the same quality of life as current ones. It is encouraging to see the U.S. is relying on foreign sources of oil and petroleum less and less. Now it’s time to start relying on another domestic source of energy more. That source is endless and the fuel is free. We must lower the amount of reliance on foreign energy sources more by implementing policies that encourage renewable energy development. However, we are taking steps in the right direction with increased efficiency and changing behavior. We owe it to our country, our world, and ourselves. Once this earth is destroyed, we don’t get another one.   

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