As gas prices continue to plummet, it’s easy to forget that the United State’s dependency on foreign oil is still a major problem. If we don’t address it soon, the high prices we saw for much of this year will be nothing compared to where they can go. Just how dependent are we? The Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) has created an excellent mash-up map for all of our oil imports since 1973 using Google Maps.
This map can show either number of barrels imported or dollars spent on the imports. The thicker the orange line, the more oil being imported or the more money spent. While the amount of oil imported has reached scary levels over the past decade, the amount of money spent on the imports is even more frightening — especially recently.
You can easily jump to the various oil crises that have happened over the past 35 years and see how they compare to where we were just a few months ago.
The map also shows projections for oil that could come from offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska. Basically, both look like a joke compared to our import levels. “The lines represent estimates of production in 20-30 years, and even with this very long timeline, the amount of oil that could be generated from offshore drilling is miniscule compared to our oil needs today,” as the Google Lat Long blog points out. The ANWR is more promising but, “Peak production is expected to occur 20-30 years after the onset of production, and production can only occur after 7-12 years of exploration and development,” as RMI notes.
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