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The Rocky Mountain Institute has created a nifty interactive map that shows you where the U.S. gets its oil from, along with how much - and who - the U.S. pays for its oil. Based on the thickness of the lines, you can see just how much black stuff is coming from where. The map goes as far back as 1973, the year of the first oil crisis, and is accompanied by a graph charting usage and dollars since then. As you'll notice in the pic above, we give a whole lot of money to Saudi Arabia, as well as our Canuck friends up north.

Additionally, RMI has included information on oil production in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Outer Continental Shelf (in the Gulf) There are some interesting factoids to be found: ANWR drilling wouldn't start until 7-12 years after it's opened up, and peak production - up to 1.9 million barrels-per-day - isn't expected to commence until 20-30 years after that. Thus, drilling in the OCS probably won''t have any impact on fuel prices until 2030. Follow the link to check it out for yourself. Hat tip to reader Rick!

[Source: Technology Review]


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  • 31 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      I have to commend you guys on not using derogatory/racist stereotypical terms in debating this issue, as I have seen on other forums. Not being sentimental, but it kind of means a lot that there are still decent human beings out there especially in America.

      I pretty much agree with everything that has been said, but I personally don't think that oil will completely run out in the middle east in whatever time frame (100, 200....etc years), in addition to this I believe middle eastern countries too are already looking at alternative energies (e.g. Dubai renewable/sustainable energy city project), and by the time if oil reserves do start seriously dwindling in the future the infrastructure for renewable energy will be improved so they too will not be completely dependable on oil and will have diverse energy resources. The Google's of renewable energy will certainly pop up along the way, but I think in our lifetimes its unlikely we will see it and that "Big Oil" will ever change. Therefore more wars in the future especially in the Caucases, and power shifting from one nation to another, most likely from the West to the East.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The map is hardly "interactive", it's just a Google map with blinking lines. Here I am expecting to click on the line and get some cool facts. The lines aren't even the oil transport line. It's just some random blinking crap. The word interactive is so over used. This thing is more useless than some kid's high school Thinkquest project.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Exactly what I thought when I saw it, cFoo. Not interactive, just animated, and not very well at that.
        Kind of a big yawn for me. Not exactly new or exciting information.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Doesn't Sinclair get oil from Wyoming? That's what I thought anyway (with my art-educated intelligence).
      • 6 Years Ago
      I RMI does some good work, but they have a vested interest in ANWR not being funded, so take keep that in mind when you read their pessemistic numbers...

      There is an alternative economic reason to drill in ANWR, which is to keep the Alaskan pipeline functional. When Alaskan production drops below a certain threshold, there isn't enough pressure in the line to get over some parts of the terrain, and you have to build up oil and pump it in batches. Eventually the whole pipeline has to be decommissioned. Since we will drill in ANWR eventually (when oil hits $200 a barrel it will happen, period), it's better to have the pipeline in place and functioning with a trickle of ANWR oil, rather than letting it degrade and having to start from scratch for peak ANWR production.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Many experts think CAFE restrictions helped to put the Detroit 3 in their current predicament -- hurt in union negotiations.

      Oil is a commodity and the price is the same (other than transportation costs) whether a country like us gets it from the Middle East or a country like Norway supplies itself.

      The world runs on oil and the problems in the Middle East happened because of that.
      • 6 Years Ago
      oh so its kinda like i own a Bugatti Beyron right?


      WÄHLEN AUTOBLOG!!!!
      VOTE AUTOBLOG!!!
      ELIGE AUTOBLOG!!!

      http://2008.weblogawards.org/polls/best-major-blog/
      • 6 Years Ago
      If only D3 did not fight CAFE that line that comes to us from saudi arabia would not have been there.

      If it wasn't for D3 there would be no First Iraq war, no Second Iraq War, no September 11, no Middle Eastern wars at all. As simple as that. Now to be fair one has to add Toyota to that list as well with their tanks.
        • 6 Years Ago
        What a lark. Blame it on the D3. Never mind the fact that Consumers wanted those big vehicles and bought them. If they hadn't built them Toyota and Nissan would have. That massive new Toyota plant in Texas wasn't building Hybrids.

        Here is a unique idea. How about we all take responsibility for our own actions for once. How about instead of blaming Detroit or Big Oil we put the blame in the laps of the Consumers who chose to drive up to the gas pumps in Suburbans and not use their Votes to change things. We all knew about the environment and air pollution not to mention the shady politics of the Middle East. Saddam, Iran, Afganistan were all originally funded and armed by the American government. A government that continues to prop up dictators and thugs around the world with money and arms as long as they are seen as being "on our side". Some of us chose to ignore those things. Even now that Canada's oilsands have become America's biggest supplier I doubt very many have any idea what the oil companies are doing to this planet to get it. If you can stomach it look it up. It is easy to find. Just google "Biggest Environmental Crime In History".

        I should add don't get too comfortable with that big line coming from the North at rock bottom prices right now. That oil is really expensive to get so the companies are only interested in doing it if oil prices are high enough. With oil prices so low they are cancelling projects all over so supply will drop and prices will rise again soon.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Mclovin, i said this before, most people could not care less about environment, they need a huge car because the wife is fat, daughter has 2 chins and son has 4 butt cheek. They need a 4X4 because you need a precice control on Costco parking lot. These people do not send their children to fight wars, if they did they would not be driving these tanks.

        So someone needs to do something, sadly it is up to our politicians.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Why on earth would you blame the Detroit 3 for decades of bad policies from our government? The reason we still buy so much oil from the Middle East is because its cheep and they won’t let us drill for oil here. (Where we have an abundance by the way) If we would have started to drill here 20 or even 10 years ago we wouldn’t be complaining about the fact that it wouldn’t affect the market for 20 years…
        The Detroit 3 has a lot wrong with their business model but fighting CAFE standards isn’t there problem. CAFE is an over reach by the government into private companies anyway, so I applaud them for fighting back.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Partly true, but let us not forget that the automotive industry is only responsible for part of the US' dependence on foreign oil.
        There was a lot of of money to be made also for the Oil industry, power generation, etc.. and no real incentive or will to invest in (as in Europe) in Nuclear and other renewable energies.
        The whole Middle-East love and hate relationship has to be taken in the historical / political context. The US has propped up a lot of autocratic regimes in that region (Saudi Arabia, Sadam's Iraq, and The Shah of Iran to name a few).
        Fifty years later or so there is a mess and a time bomb ready to explode in that region and some of the responsibilities (I am not saying blame) have to be shouldered by the US or the West in general (the first Gulf war was due to misread signals between both Sadam and the US).
        Truth is that most Middle-Eastern countries will resemble Somalia if it were not for oil but at the same time the US exports military hardware, goods, know how, etc.. to this region and even maintain strategic bases in the region.
        Prior to 9/11 most Gulf Arab countries pumped billions of their oil money back into America as it was perceived as a safe haven.
        Post 9/11 and after the whole media blown Dubai Port issue (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/28/opinion/28flynn.html) this new situation cooled the investment flow from the Gulf into America (now going to Europe, Africa and Asia).
        There was always a bit of a give and take in that relationship but unless we could replace all gas pumps by hydrogen filling station, zero dependence on foreign oil for the US or the West is not achievable.
        • 6 Years Ago
        LOL......Yeah… well some of that does go on but that just shows you the integrity of the politician… but what goes on even more than that are these environmentalist groups taking people and companies to court over these issues and threatening politicians that if they don’t vote for an issue then they will smear their name as “against the environment” or “in the pocket of corporations”. You see there is a difference between environmentalism and believing in conservation. When the government gave precedence to environmental groups to sue in the name of all people for the environment, which is where the major turning point was. And most of the politician that are being bought out are in bed with these groups not so much corporations.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Seaurchin,
        After reading your posts, most if not all are nothing but pure
        nonsense and dribble. You must be a product of underfunded public
        schools. How you come up with your idiotic, moronic, assinine,
        garbage is beyond reasoning. And yet, you continue to make a fool
        out of yourself.

        • 6 Years Ago
        Adam, bad policies by the government? Yes you are correct there, but why would government act that way? Because they are bought by these people. You may notice that MOST senators that have auto plants vote agains all CAFE measures, because auto people are telling them, if you vote YES, we will go to another state, if you say you believe in Global Warming we will leave, if you do not call saudi arabia our biggest ally in the middle east you are screwed.

        • 6 Years Ago
        I think you left the consumer out of your equation. No one put a gun to our collective heads and made us buy Hummers, Excursions, Sequias and Durangos in droves.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "There are some interesting factoids to be found: ANWR drilling wouldn't start until 7-12 years after it's opened up, and peak production - up to 1.9 million barrels-per-day - isn't expected to commence until 20-30 years after that. Thus, drilling in the OCS probably won''t have any impact on fuel prices until 2030."

      20-30 years is a ridiculous estimate and I would take RMI data with a grain of salt. They definitely have their own agenda. I have seen other estimates say their is 5-7 million barrels per day potential and can be pumped in 6-7 years.

      I suspect the truth is in the middle.





        • 6 Years Ago
        @ John,

        Why is the stated time period ridiculous? It takes a long time to build up infrastructure, especially in a place where the work just comes to a grinding halt for days or weeks on end. Here's their mission statement:

        Rocky Mountain Institute® (RMI) is an independent, entrepreneurial, nonprofit organization. We foster the efficient and restorative use of resources to make the world secure, just, prosperous, and life-sustaining. Our staff shows businesses, communities, individuals, and governments how to create more wealth and employment, protect and enhance natural and human capital, increase profit and competitive advantage, and enjoy many other benefits — largely by doing what they do far more efficiently. Our work is independent, nonadversarial, and transideological, with a strong emphasis on market-based solutions.

        Seems pretty balanced to me. Prenty of leaning towards the Wall Street mongers, and thus those with political leanings of the drill, drill, drill mentality.
        • 6 Years Ago
        John,

        That map was published on MITs Technology Review site. Those people aren't slouches. I would trust the word of bunch of scientists and engineers vs. those who sit in some financially motivated political camp.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Not a whole lot is know about ANWR geology, is my understanding. However, I would say any notion of 5 - 7 millions barrels per day is almost laughable. That would be absolutely astonishing.

        http://www.greencarcongress.com/2008/05/eia-anwr-oil-pr.html

        One could also expect any peak production figure to last a fairly short time before production starts to drop rapidly. This is just one article I could grab quickly, but there are graphs of production out there -- you get a quick peak followed by a long, ever-declining, tail.

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/06/AR2005060601742.html
      • 6 Years Ago
      I love it when I hear politicians or talk-show idiots talk about how we get oil from unfriendly nations, but I don't see one on this list. Canada? Mexico? No. Saudi Arabia? Uh, no. Venezuela? I would say no, even if their President is a childish little man who gets his jollies tweaking our noses. Who cares? Nigeria, Angola, Ecuador? No, no, no.

      The only problem with imported oil, IMO, is how it affects our balance of trade.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Venezuala uses oil money to fund terrorists in Colombia who are actively trying to overthrow the friendly, democratic government.

        Saudi Arabia uses money to fund Wahabi Islamic groups in other nations. The worst example of this is Britain, which has a growing problem of violent, home-grown fundamentalists who go to anti-Western mosques built with Saudi Arabian oil money.

        These are not the actions of "friendly" governments.
        • 6 Years Ago
        saudi arabia is world biggest terror exporter. Most islamic terrorism in the world is connected to them. They support all terror groups in middle east aside from hezbolla (because the do not believe in shia islam)

        Wahabism is a term for ultra violent Islamist movement, Wahab was an actual human being, like hitler.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Someone please explain to me again why we are sending 100's of billions of dollars to other nations to provide a resource that we have here at home in the US. Not to mention, we have no control over their negative environmental impacts. Whereas, here in the US, we could directly regulate, monitor, and enforce the environmental impact. Yeah, it will take a while to play catch up, but we need to start immediately so we can keep our dollars at home.

        • 6 Years Ago
        @Level, actually I pretty much think the same way. USA seems to have protectionists approach when it comes to it's own natural resources. USA has it's own woods and oil (just to name a few) but we chose to import those from other nations while keeping our own resource extraction at minimum. Over the short term it makes US dependent on other nations but over the long term it makes US independent, simple as that. Reality is that natural resources are the basis of any economy, without it you will simply not prosper. I believe US in this instance knows exactly what they are doing. If only our current banking system had thought about long term instead of get rich quick schemes we wouldn't be in the current economic chaos but again, I also think it was a planned move.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Level, you know who else plays that game with their resources? Russia does. Especially now that the world stage is shaping up as it is. Russia, the new counter-balance to the U.S.

        The oil companies are going to be the companies that are able to provide for the alternative energy solutions simply because they have the capital. Anyone who screams "conspiracy" and throws their arms up in the air will be sadly shocked. They want to keep their supremacy and they have the means to do so. So, we will in fact see alternatives to oil, and it will still come from a Shell or Exxon-Mobil brand. Deal with it.
        • 6 Years Ago
        nardvark...
        I don't hate Caribou at all. In fact I love them ...for lunch!

        • 6 Years Ago
        My theory on the matter is, The US would like to consume everyone else natural resources to the point of extinction b4 we start using our own. Right now we are seeing billions go their way but ones their oil is dry. They wont have any other means of income. You have to think in the long run 100 years from now. Not instant ratification.

        Personally if my theory is correct I am for it. 100 years from now while everyone elses natural resources are dried up they will go into chaos while the US will have it's own natural resource to tap into and prevent chaos.

        Thats just my way of thinking because a lot of things dont add up unless you are thinking long term
      • 6 Years Ago
      hmmm looks like we don't get all of our oil from Iraq and those "terrorist" nations....
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