PoliGraph: Walz right on oil imports

Tim Walz recently introduced a bill that would expand oil and gas production in the United States.

To build support for the legislation, Walz frequently points out that the nation spends big bucks daily on oil imports.

“America has talked about eliminating our dependence on foreign oil for decades, but we continue to spend too much time talking and too little time acting,” he wrote in a May 31, 2011 op-ed in the Rochester Post-Bulletin. “Each day, we send $1 billion overseas that can’t be used to invest in our own economy.”

Walz gets this one right.

The Evidence

The price of oil fluctuates daily and so does the amount of oil the United States imports.

But using recent Energy Information Administration data, Walz’s estimate is essentially correct.

For instance, in January, the United States imported about 11.9 barrels of oil daily for an average cost of $1.1 billion. In March, the country spent an average of $1.2 billion a day on oil imports.

In 2010, the cost was similar: Every day, the cost of oil imports was in the ballpark of $1 billion.

The Verdict

Walz is correct: the United States spends about $1 billion on oil imports daily.


The Rochester Post-Bulletin, It’s time to unleash America’s energy potential, May 31, 2011

Tim Walz, Bipartisan Energy Working Group Unveils Plan for Job Creation, Energy Independence, accessed June 7, 2011

U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, May 2011

The Energy Information Administration, U.S. Imports by Country of Origin, accessed June 6, 2011

The Energy Information Administration, Crude Oil Prices, accessed June 6, 2011

The Energy Information Administration, Merchandise Trade Value, accessed June 6, 2011

The Truman National Security Project, Oil Addiction: Fueling Our Enemies, Feb. 17, 2010

Interview, Sara Severs, spokeswoman for Rep. Tim Walz, June 7, 2011