Net petroleum imports account for 53% of the U.S. trade deficit.
In 2010, the United States ran a deficit of traded goods and services of almost exactly $500 billion. Of this, net imports of petroleum accounted for $265 billion. The nation currently consumes roughly nineteen million barrels of petroleum products per day, while producing around six million barrels of crude domestically. It's unlikely we'll close this gap even with increased domestic production, given the technical challenges and long development times of drilling offshore, where most of our reserves remain. The EIA has estimated that even if the amount of technically recoverable oil and gas offshore is three times higher than expected, it would still only yield an extra million or two barrels per day at its peak, and not before the next decade. These amounts, relatively small in relation to total global production, would have virtually no impact on energy prices. If we're serious about closing the petroleum deficit, we need to invest in transportation alternatives, including biofuels and electric vehicles powered by clean energy.