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#28. Petroleum Prevarication
by Bob Powell, 5/20/08
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[See the more-detailed Petroleum Prevarication. Also of interest ... see what happened during The Oil Shocks of the 70s]

Want to increase U.S. oil supply by 10%? Stop exporting it.

At the last Drinking Liberally gathering, reviewing #27. Trade Truth #2: The Dollar & the Deficit, one person asked, "You mean we actually export oil?" Good question. The answer: Yes!

This is seldom, if ever, mentioned in articles on the oil shortage.

The U.S. has a petroleum trade deficit. That is, imports exceed exports. But the U.S. actually exports about one-tenth as much as it imports. Note the graph below has the scale for exports on the right expanded 10X compared to the scale for imports on the left. Exports are now about 11% of imports.

Petroleum import & export trends on two scales: right scale is 10X magnification of left scale

On the Overall Trade Deficit

Many blame the trade deficit on oil imports, but petroleum has only been about 20% of the trade deficit for the past six years. The petroleum deficit fell in real dollars by $4.6B in 2006 and $3.9B in 2007 despite rising oil prices.

Oil is a problem, but it's less than 20% of the trade deficit … 18.6% in 2007.

There's no "free market" for oil because of OPEC and oil oligopoly manipulation of supply. For more on this, see Petroleum Prevarication,

So it's not "oil" that's at the root of the trade deficit. A major structural problem is driving the U.S. toward economic collapse. For why, see The Trade Deficit and the Fallacy of Composition.

Changes in the Petroleum Deficit

Since 2005 exports have been rising as imports have been falling. Does this make sense given we're told there's an oil shortage?

Change since 2005 in Petroleum Imports & Exports (billions)

Exports rose by almost 25% since 2005 even as the oil crisis worsened.

Change since 2005 in Petroleum Imports & Exports (%)

Drill in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR)?

"Conservatives" push for drilling in ANWR to make the U.S. less dependent on foreign oil. But that won't help as long as we export the oil from that region.

Propose a law: Oil from the U.S. shall not be exported (as some nations are now doing with food). Then wait for the uproar of opposition.

URL: http://www.exponentialimprovement.com/cms/petrolprevarlibmom.shtml

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© 2003 Continuous Improvement Associates
#28. Petroleum Prevarication
#27. Trade Truth #2: The Dollar & the Deficit
#26. The NAFTA Nemesis
#25. The Liberal Mind: The Psychological Causes of Political Madness (April Fool edition)
#24. Employment & Unemployment
#23. 'Free Trade' and the Environment
#22. John Edwards on 'Trade' - Why We Need Edwards for President
#21. Principles of Economic Development
#20. Serving the Corporatocracy
#19 - Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell