U.S. Energy Information Administration - EIA - Independent Statistics and Analysis
Frequently Asked Questions
Do we have enough oil worldwide to meet our future needs?
Yes. As shown in EIA's International Energy Outlook 2011, the global supply of crude oil, other liquid hydrocarbons, and biofuels is expected to be adequate to meet the world's demand for liquid fuels for at least the next 25 years. There is, of course, substantial uncertainty about the levels of future oil supply and demand, and EIA reflects some of this uncertainty by developing low and high oil price cases, in addition to a reference case. The oil resources currently remaining in the Earth's crust, in combination with expected volumes of other liquid fuels, are estimated to be sufficient to meet total demand for liquid fuels in all three price cases of the International Energy Outlook 2011.
An often cited, although misleading, measurement of future resource availability is the reserves-to-production ratio, which given the current rate of consumption and total proved reserves is about 50 years. However, proved reserves are an accounting concept that is based on known projects and is not an appropriate measure for judging total resource availability in the long-term. Over time, numerous additional projects will be developed, which will add to global reserves. Furthermore, reserve estimates at known projects are likely to increase as new technologies are developed.
- International Energy Outlook includes EIA's most recent forecast for world oil supply.
- Long-Term Global Oil Scenarios: Looking Beyond 2030 (PDF) contains an analysis of world oil supply under various supply and demand scenarios.
- International Energy Statistics Portal contains world and country-level estimates of oil reserves and crude oil production data.
Last updated: January 15, 2013
Other FAQs about Crude Oil
- Do we have enough oil worldwide to meet our future needs?
- Does EIA have data on U.S. oil refineries and their locations?
- Does EIA have data on shale (or “tight”) oil production?
- Does EIA have data on the movement of crude oil and ethanol by rail and truck?
- Does EIA have data on the type or quality of crude oil processed in U.S. refineries?
- Does EIA have maps or information on the location of natural gas and oil pipelines?
- How dependent is the United States on foreign oil?
- How many gallons of gasoline does one barrel of oil make?
- How much coal, natural gas, or petroleum is used to generate a kilowatt-hour of electricity?
- How much does it cost to produce crude oil and natural gas?
- When was the last refinery built in the United States?
- Where is the boundary for state and federal offshore oil and gas production?
- Why don't fuel prices change as quickly as crude oil prices?
- Why is the United States exporting gasoline when prices are so high?
- How much of the oil produced in the United States is consumed in the United States?
- How much oil does the United States consume per year?
- How much oil is produced in Alaska and where does it go?
- How much oil is used to make plastic?
- How much petroleum does the United States import and from where?
- What are the differences between various types of crude oil prices?
- What are the products and uses of petroleum?
- What countries are the top world oil consumers?
- What countries are the top world oil net exporters?
- What countries are the top world oil net importers?
- What countries are the top world oil producers?
- What do I pay for in a gallon of regular gasoline?
- What is the difference between crude oil, petroleum products, and petroleum?
- What is the outlook for home heating fuel prices this winter?
- What types and amounts of energy are produced in each state?