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

  • But Walz is a member for a party and casts his vote for Speaker for someone who will prohibit oil production expansion, thus meaning, if we don’t “send” a billion overseas, we simply won’t spend it.

    You can’t be pro oil jobs, but anti-oil.

  • Sherry

    Expanding production here is not going to help. The easy oil is gone. Any way you slice it the age of cheap oil is over. Pretending otherwise is not helpful.

  • RC

    People seem to forget, or just conveniently forget to mention, that we have MAYBE 3% of the world’s oil supply under our soil.

    That is not gonna provide much of anything for us. Such a tiny amount is not worth tearing up our land and polluting our environments even more.

  • Your points are well taken. However, there is a time line by which your suggestions and others require massive implementation to curtail imported oil usage. Here’s why.

    In President Obama’s Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future (March 2011), he recommended expanded drilling and development of one million electrically powered vehicles to maintain reasonable gasoline prices. That will not achieve stable gasoline prices because United States oil reserves are declining, new reserves are uncertain and one million electric vehicles is a small percentage of the total vehicle fleet (i.e., 137 million passenger vehicles).

    Gasoline prices are likely to increase because the United States is now importing nearly 60 percent of its crude oil needs. In 11 years that figure will rise to 100 percent without a combination of large-scale conversion to a new engine technology, massive oil discoveries, wide spread use of public transportation or a significant decline in oil consumption due to an economic depression. This situation was totally ignored by President Obama and if not recognized and corrected by realistic, publicly supported planning, it will lead to:

    • U.S. economy and trade balance will become far worse than it is now

    • OPEC will exert even more influence over U.S. policy

    • U.S. transportation and manufacturing will be at risk

    Dr. Jeffrey Everson