Reduce Oil Dependence Costs
Around one-third of the oil we use is imported, costing our economy roughly $192 billion annually. Increased domestic oil production from shale formations and improved fuel economy standards have decreased oil imports over the past few years, but the U.S. Department of Energy projects that we will continue to rely on imports for 25% to 32% of our petroleum needs in the future.
Most of the world's oil reserves are concentrated in the Middle East, and about 73% are controlled by Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) members.
Oil price shocks and price manipulation by OPEC have cost our economy dearly—about $2 trillion from 2004 to 2008.
It's unclear whether we will ever completely eliminate our need to import oil, but we can reduce cartel market control and the economic impact of price shocks by reducing our petroleum consumption.
EPA has established new corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards for new cars and trucks to help decrease our dependence on oil and to decrease greenhouse gas emissions. Increased standards for model year 2012 to 2025 vehicles are projected to
- Gradually increase real-world fuel economy to about 45 mpg for the average car and 32 mpg for the average truck
- Save consumers more than $1.7 trillion in fuel costs
- Reduce our dependence on oil by more than 2 million barrels per day in 2025—about half of the oil that we currently import from OPEC countries each day
- For vehicles purchased in 2025, save new car buyers $8,000 in fuel costs over that vehicle's lifetime (when compared to a vehicle meeting the model year 2011 CAFE standards)
Ultimately, the solution to this problem lies in technological progress:
- Developing advanced vehicle technologies that use energy more efficiently
- Creating new energy sources that can replace petroleum cleanly and cost-effectively
You Can Help
You can help improve our energy security by selecting a vehicle that uses less petroleum. Each vehicle in our Find and Compare Cars section has an Energy Impact Score that shows the amount of petroleum it uses each year.
U.S. petroleum use 1970–2011: EIA. 2012. Annual Energy Review 2011, Table 5.1a.
U.S. petroleum use 2012–13: EIA. 2014. Monthly Energy Review, Table. 3.1.
Proven oil reserve estimates: EIA. 2014. International Energy Statistics Database, (accessed August 8, 2014).
Information on impact of CAFE standards:
- Federal Register. Vol. 77, No. 199, 15 Oct. 2012, Table III-4, p. 62773.
- EPA. 2012. EPA and NHTSA Set Standards to Reduce Greenhouse Gases and Improve Fuel Economy for Model Years 2017-2025 Cars and Light Trucks.
- EPA. 2013. Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, and Fuel Economy Trends: 1975 Through 2012.
- Average fuel cost savings based on assumed fuel price of $3.61/gallon and 12,000 miles of travel annually.