Over the last seven years, the United States has dramatically reduced its dependence on oil imports. From their peak in 2006, imports have fallen 40% as a result of declining demand and strong growth in domestic production of liquid fuels, leading to predictions that the US could reach oil self-sufficiency within 15–20 years.

Over the last seven years, the United States has dramatically reduced its dependence on oil imports. From their peak in 2006, imports have fallen 40% as a result of declining demand and strong growth in domestic production of liquid fuels, leading to predictions that the US could reach oil self-sufficiency within 15–20 years.

The role of imports in meeting the country's oil needs is still substantial. But their rapid decline has been a major surprise. Expectations of continued growth in oil imports were based on the premise that domestic oil production had peaked in the early 1970s and was declining irreversibly. It was also believed that it would be politically impossible to tax oil products to a level that would arrest growth in demand, let alone reverse it. (Tax rates on oil products in most European countries are about five times higher than those in the US.)

Instead, both the fall in US oil production and the rise in consumption have been reversed. As a result, monthly imports(expressed as a 12-month moving average to suppress seasonal effects) peaked in September 2006 at 12.7 million barrels per day (mb/d) and had declined 40% by November 2012 to 7.6mb/d.

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