America’s oil boom is no longer a secret. But the impact it will have on the economy still isn’t clear. Low gas prices haven’t arrived. A manufacturing boom remains elusive.
But there’s one area we can measure the impact of our energy boom with precision: The trade deficit. And the numbers are staggering.
Let’s take a look.
America became a consistent net exporter of finished petroleum products in 2011 for the first time in half a century:
Now, this only represents finished petroleum products like gasoline and diesel. Foreign countries like Mexico have a voracious appetite for our finished petroleum given their lack of refinery capacity. America still imports crude oil. But our reliance on oil imports is shrinking fast, nearing the lowest level in two decades:
In June, 2008 America imported some 300 million barrels of crude. In June of this year, that figure was a quarter lower, at 231 million barrels. That’s simply huge.
Put our dwindling reliance of imported oil together with a booming export market for finished petroleum products, and you get a remarkable statistic: U.S. net imports of crude and petroleum products are back to where they were nearly 30 years ago: