U.S. Net Energy Imports in 2017 Fall to Their Lowest Levels Since 1982

Total net energy imports to the United States fell to 7.3 quadrillion British thermal units (quads) in 2017, a 35% decrease from 2016 and the lowest level since 1982, when both gross imports and gross exports were much lower. Gross energy imports have been generally decreasing from a high of 34.7 quads in 2007; however, the larger factor leading to the reduction in the net energy trade balance has been increasing energy exports. Gross energy exports rose to 18.0 quadrillion Btu in 2017, a 27% increase from 2016 and the highest annual U.S. energy exports on record.

Increasing U.S. energy exports have been driven largely by increases in exports of petroleum products and natural gas. In recent years, exports of crude oil have also contributed to the overall rise in energy exports after crude oil export restrictions were lifted at the end of 2015. In energy content terms, the United States now exports nearly as much energy in the form of crude oil (2.3 quads) as coal (2.5 quads).

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