How much did the US spend on Imported Oil in 2014?

My previous blog posts about the US spending on imported oil are finally making a difference. At least a lot of people seem to be asking how much the US spends on importing oil.  Earlier this year, one of the leading United States Presidential Candidates stated that the US spent about $300 billion on importing oil in 2014.  The Census Bureau reports lower numbers but only includes crude oil. My calculations are based on the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data and includes all petroleum imports. My calculations show that candidate was not far off. 

1/3rd of a Trillion Dollars

1/3rd of a Trillion Dollars

Using the method I have used for several years (2013, 2012, & 2011) I estimate that the United States (US) spent $333 billion importing oil in 2014.  That represents 1.9% of the US GDP for 2014 of $17.4 trillion. Last year we spent $388 billion, part of the $55 billion decrease is due to a 6% decline in the amount of oil imported and part is due to the almost 9% decrease in the price of imported oil from 2013 to 2014.  Over the same time, we see an 8% increase in the domestic oil consumption in the US.  Unfortunately for our planet, that means total consumption of oil by the US rose by almost 1% from 2013 to 2014.

Here is how I calculated it.

I took the monthly import numbers of barrels as reported on the EIA – US Imports of Crude Oil report and multiplied those by the average monthly price for oil on the Brent Crude Oil Average Price. I use the Brent (European) average price for oil instead of the Cushing, Oklahoma WTI price because the Brent is more appropriate for imported oil.


chart showing how much oil the US imported, consumed domestically and how much was spent o the imported oil from 2011 to 2014

While consumption has remained steady, the amount of money the US spent on imported oil has dropped 28% over the past 4 years.

To put that in to perspective, as a nation, we spent $634,000 every minute on foreign oil in 2014.

Some other interesting calculations for 2104 worth doing are:

  • 292 billion gallons of oil consumed in 2014
  • 9,250 gallons consumed per second for 2014
  • 2.6 billion metric tons of CO2 emitted from oil consumption in 2014 (using rough approximation of 20lbs CO2/gal of oil)

To put all these numbers in perspective, the entire world was on target to spend $233 billion on all renewable energy projects for 2014.  What would happen if instead of importing oil, the United States instead invested that money in renewable energy?  

Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Happy Greening!

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Past reports on how much the US spent on importing oil:



  1. Ben Kreiselman says:

    I have a question.
    Of the 388 billion the article says we spent on foreign oil, how much of that was used on gas/diesel consumption?

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