Oil prices have been on a roller coaster lately. I was wondering what the price fluctuations might mean for US consumers and the US economy. The answer, of course, depends upon how much oil is consumed and imported – a number that I didn’t know off the top of my head.
I thought I would do a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation. Here’s what I tracked down at the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
For 2001, the US consumed 19.65 million barrels a day, and produced 8.96 million barrels a day. Over the course of a year, this means 7.2 billion consumed and 3.3 billion produced. Hence 3.9 billion imported in the year.
At $30 a barrel, this adds up to $215 billion consumed. GDP in 2001 was just barely over 10 trillion. So oil consumption is then 2.15% of GDP.
So, it seems to me that oil consumption represents a significant, but not huge, part of the current US economy.