News Column

Give Detroit Some Credit for Drop in Oil Imports

November 14, 2013

Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press

ford focus
2014 Ford Focus (Ford Motor)

Nov. 13--WASHINGTON -- An Obama administration report says that this month, for the first time since the 1990s, crude oil imports to the U.S. will be less than the amount of oil produced domestically -- a feat credited in part to more fuel-efficient vehicles being made by Detroit's automakers.

On Wednesday, a White House news release announced the report by the Energy Information Administration, which is part of the U.S. Energy Department. It says domestic oil production is at a 24-year high and will surpass foreign oil imports, which are at a 17-year low, on a month-long average in November.

"Increased U.S. production and reduced U.S. demand afford us a stronger hand in pursuing and implementing our international security goals" and act "as a cushion that helps reduce our vulnerability to global supply disruptions and price shocks," the release said.

The administration credited new fuel standards for vehicles, beginning in 2011, as one of the prime reasons for the change.

"We are already seeing more efficient cars and trucks roll off the assembly line, thanks in part to these standards," the release said. "Five years ago, Chrysler didn't have any vehicles delivering 30 m.p.g.; now they make a half dozen. Last year, Ford offered a record-setting eight models that are expected to deliver 40 m.p.g. or higher. And in 2012, General Motors sold more than 1 million vehicles that get 30 m.p.g. or better."

The administration also cited the importance of innovations in auto manufacturing in increasing fuel efficiency, saying it is working with Ford, GM and others to develop more fuel-efficient vehicles.


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