US slashes net energy imports as refiners ship fuels overseas

HOUSTON — The United States cut its net energy imports in 2013 to the lowest level in more than two decades, measured by energy content, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The trend partially was driven by a surge in the domestic supply of crude oil in 2013, which marked the largest one-year jump in production in the nation’s history. With U.S. production rising, the nation cut oil imports by 12 percent over 2012. Meanwhile, U.S. exports of gasoline, diesel and other petroleum products also hit a record high during the year.

The paired trends led to a 19 percent drop in net energy exports between 2012 and 2013. Gross energy imports fell 9 percent, according to the federal data.

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Crude oil makes up the lion’s share of the United States’ energy imports, nearly 70 percent or 17 quadrillion British thermal units. Petroleum products, like gasoline blending components, are the next largest portion, with 16 percent.

About 12 percent of the energy imports are natural gas. The U.S. also imports some coal, electricity and biofuels.