Today, over half of the oil we use is imported (57%), and our dependence will increase as we use up domestic resources.
Most of the world's oil reserves are concentrated in the Middle East, and about two-thirds are controlled by OPEC members.
Oil price shocks and price manipulation by OPEC have cost our economy dearly—about $1.9 trillion from 2004 to 2008—and each major shock was followed by a recession.
We may never eliminate our need to import oil, but we can reduce cartel market control and the economic impact of price shocks by reducing our demand.
Congress recently passed legislation to decrease our dependence on oil by increasing corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards on new cars and trucks to 35 mpg by model year 2020. This could reduce our petroleum use by 25 billion gallons by 2030.
Ultimately, the solution to this problem lies in technological progress:
- Developing advanced vehicle technologies that use energy more efficiently
- Creating new energy sources that can replace petroleum cleanly and cost-effectively
You Can Help
You can help improve our energy security by selecting a vehicle that uses less petroleum. Each vehicle in our Find and Compare Carssection has an Energy Impact Score that shows the amount of petroleum it uses each year.