US Oil Doesn’t Come From Where You Think it Does

Where do you think the US imports the most oil from? Most of us would probably say somewhere in the Middle East, but Jon Udell does some number crunching and shows that misconception is false. Canada supplies us with the most oil (according to the US Department of Energy).

This realization however, isn’t the post’s punchline. It’s how easy it was for Jon to figure this stuff out. With some help from Dabble DB (an app that lets you easily use a database without too much technical fuss), Jon was able to parse the data and map it by region with a few swift clicks.

We’re really close to the point where non-specialists will be able to find data online, ask questions of it, produce answers that bear on public policy issues, and share those answers online for review and discussion. A few more turns of the crank, and we’ll be there. And not a moment too soon.

We’re gettin’ there.

[Thanks, Tim]


  • It doesn’t really matter where the US oil supply comes from. Oil is a market commodity with overlapping supply streams– so if OPEC cuts oil production, or there is an increase in oil extraction from Venezuala to China, this will still effect the market crude price for oil all sources around the world. Securing supplies of oil all around the world thus benefit all oil consumers regardless of where they get their own oil.

    Of course having stability of supply is a strategic concern too.

  • Hey Nathan, how’s going man? I haven’t talked to you for a while :)

    I did something very similar for The Times last year. Here is the link to it

    The graphics shows oil consumers, producers and oil suppliers to the US. Definitely Canada is the biggest supplier to the US.

  • hmm somehow I can’t submit comment to this article. Is that because I include a link in the post? and the system think that I am spamming ?

  • Akismet marked it as spam for some reason, but now it’s out there in the open :)

  • Thanks man, I appreciate it.

    Are you still in Buffalo ?

  • Interesting. My first reaction was to remember all the outrage over the US’s declaration of war with Iraq, the WMD claim, as REALLY being about protecting our oil supply (which is just as legitimate for those in the US rely on said oil supplies)… And, then I remembered hearing that Canada allowed non-profit groups to raise money for terrorists… And then, I thought, “hey, we should be at war with Canada instead”… and then I remembered that John Candy has already made the movie.
    So… it could be the first movie ever to be the basis for, not based on, a historical event! Data is so cool! Eh?

  • “Interesting. My first reaction was to remember all the outrage over the US’s declaration of war with Iraq, the WMD claim, as REALLY being about protecting our oil supply”

    Mmh Brian,
    maybe have a good degree of control on the “outer world” oil supply (who says China and India?) isn’t that superfluos,
    is it?

  • David Dzidzikashvili December 20, 2008 at 9:55 am

    OPEC is trying to make deepest oil cuts ever to rescue the prices… This is alarming, since whole world is in deep recession and the current financial crisis will last until early or late 2010 I think. Any cuts in oil supplies will cause price hikes on petroleum and this will further deepen current recession around the globe. Higher oil prices will result in higher prices for basic goods and services and this will put the middle class, small business owners in a very bad situation. I hope the world leaders will be able to persuade OPEC to try to keep the supplies at current levels at least until the end of year 2009, since higher prices will have a very nasty impact on economies trying to recover from recession

  • I thought lots of gasoline is imported into the US due to limits on refineries capacity (which makes sometimes gasoline much more expensive in Europe).

    Shouldn’t that be included into the US oil import reasoning?



    “U.S. Oil and Gasoline Import Statistics”