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Report Shows Drop In U.S. Oil Imports

The White House will unveil a report today showing that U.S. dependence on foreign oil imports has dropped by more than two million barrels a day since President Obama took office.

The report shows U.S. imports at 8.4 million barrels a day last year from 11 million barrels a day in 2008. As a percent of all U.S. consumption, foreign imports went from 57 percent down to 45 percent in the same period, the report says.

With prices topping $4 a gallon at the pump, the politics of oil is already shaping up to become a major issue this campaign season, with President Obama forced to defend his energy policy against Republicans who blame him for blocking a major U.S.-Canada pipeline project.

Monday's report, entitled "The Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future" touts White House policies to promote more fuel efficient cars and improved weatherization in homes as major factors in reducing the imports.

Neela Banerjee reports in The Los Angeles Times today that:

GOP candidates on the campaign trail and some oil industry leaders have charged that Obama's energy policies stifle domestic production, and have urged the administration to open as much public land and offshore areas as possible to drilling.

More domestic drilling will not end the need for imports, however. The United States holds only 2% of the planet's proven oil reserves, but Americans consume 25% of the world's daily output of crude oil.

Meanwhile, as Kirk Siegler from member station KUNC reports, a boom in domestic oil drilling has boosted demand for oil and gas engineers.

According to the latest Lundberg survey of gas stations nationwide, the average price for a gallon of regular is now $3.81, up 12 cents in the last two weeks.

If you want to see what's behind high gas prices, NPR has an excellent graphic to explain it.

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