The United States has been an annual net total energy exporter since 2019
Up to the early 1950s, the United States produced most of the energy it consumed.1 U.S. energy consumption was higher than U.S. energy production in every year from 1958–2018. The difference between consumption and production was met by imports, particularly crude oil and petroleum products such as motor gasoline and distillate fuel oil. Total energy imports (based on heat content) peaked in 2007 and subsequently declined in nearly every year since then. Increases in U.S. crude oil and natural gas production reduced the need for crude oil and natural gas imports and contributed to increases in crude oil and natural gas exports. The United States has been a net total energy exporter—total energy exports have been higher than total energy imports—since 2019.
Total U.S. energy exports in 2022 were the highest on record
In 2022, U.S. total energy exports were the highest on record, at about 27.41 quadrillion British thermal units (quads), about a 9.3% increase from 2021. Total energy exports exceeded total energy imports by about 5.94 quads, the largest margin on record. Total U.S. energy imports were about 21.47 quads, nearly equal to the amount in 2021.
U.S. total energy imports increased slightly in 2022
U.S. total energy imports increased slightly in 2022—from 21.46 quads to 21.47 quads. U.S. crude oil imports and exports both increased in 2022, and the United States remained a net crude oil importer. Crude oil accounted for the largest percentage share of U.S. total energy imports—nearly 65%—and for about 27% of total energy exports. Some imported crude oil is refined into petroleum products that are exported.
Imports of petroleum products (such as gasoline and distillates) accounted for about 19% of total annual U.S. energy imports and for about 38% of total energy exports in 2022. Total petroleum product imports were about 13% lower in 2022, exports were about 7% higher, and net imports were the lowest on record.
U.S. natural gas exports reached a record high in 2022 and equaled about 25% of total U.S. energy exports. Increases in natural gas exports in nearly every year since 2014 contributed to the United States becoming a net exporter of natural gas in 2017 for the first time since the late 1950s and, in 2021, to the lowest level of natural gas net imports on record. Increases in liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, especially to Europe, contributed to the nearly 4% increase in U.S. natural gas exports in 2022. Natural gas imports increased by about 8% in 2022 and equaled about 14% of total U.S. energy imports.
Trade volumes of coal account for relatively small shares of U.S. total energy trade on an energy content basis. The United States has been a net coal exporter since at least 1949. Annual U.S. coal exports increased slightly in 2022 and equaled about 8% of total energy exports. U.S. coal imports increased by about 24% in 2022 but accounted for only about 0.6% of total U.S. energy imports.
1 Primary energy, and based on the energy content of energy sources.
Last updated: August 9, 2023, with data from the Monthly Energy Review, April 2023; data for 2022 are preliminary.