The U.S. did not double oil imports from Russia in the last year

“We have doubled our (oil) imports from Russia in the last year.”

During an appearance on “Jesse Watters Primetime,” Fox Business Network host Maria Bartiromo explained how brewing conflict between the U.S. and Russia could affect American consumers.

Bartiromo said that U.S. dependency on Russian oil imports would cause gasoline prices to continue rising.

The United States is “reliant on Russian oil. We have doubled our imports from Russia in the last year,” Bartiromo said on Feb. 22. “No question why President Biden is begging OPEC and others to pump more oil.”

While the U.S has increased the amount of oil it imports from Russia in the past year, the raw numbers indicate that Bartiromo’s claim overstated the extent of such growth.
Russia became a more significant source of oil for the U.S. after the U.S. placed economic sanctions on Venezuela in 2019. In the absence of oil from Venezuela, U.S. oil companies turned to Russia for supplies.
The most recent data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows that the U.S. increased its oil imports from Russia by an average of 154,000 barrels per day in the first 11 months of 2021.
The U.S. imports two types of oil from Russia: crude oil and refined products such as gasoline and kerosene. Last June, the U.S. imported 848,000 barrels per day of crude oil and refined petroleum products from Russia.
This increase resulted in Russia edging out Mexico to become the second-largest foreign oil supplier to the U.S. in 2021, behind only Canada — which accounts for almost half of U.S. oil imports.
Historically, this is a notable increase — about 28% — but it is far from double.
When we asked the Fox Business Network about Bartiromo’s remarks, a spokesperson pointed to the growth in crude oil imports alone.
The U.S. more than doubled its crude oil imports from Russia, to about 208,000 barrels a day in the first 11 months of 2021, from 76,000 barrels a day in 2020.
But Bartiromo’s broader point was about the extent of U.S. reliance on Russian oil, which remains fairly modest. Russia accounted for only about 3% of overall U.S. crude oil imports in 2021 — a 2 percentage point increase from 2020.
The bulk of the oil the U.S. imports from Russia is refined petroleum products, not crude oil. The growth in imports of refined petroleum products from Russia in the past year has not been as steep.
The U.S. imported an average of 487,000 barrels per day in 2021, according to the EIA, up from 465,000 barrels a day in 2020.
“It’s a big increase,” said Mark Finley, fellow in energy and global oil at Rice University’s Baker Institute. “But it’s still a small number, and it’s irrelevant because it’s a global marketplace.”
Russia is the third-largest oil producer in the world. The country’s invasion of Ukraine fueled concern that there would be a disruption to the global energy supply. Amid the uncertainty, the global oil benchmark initially swelled to $105 a barrel before easing down to $99.08.
In the United States, the national average for a gallon of gasoline jumped to $3.61 from $3.33 a month ago, according to AAA. The long-term effects of Russia’s invasion on the global oil supply remain to be seen.
“It is very difficult to say at this point what the impact will be,” said Dean Baker, senior economist for the Center for Economic and Policy Research. “Whether prices go much higher will likely depend on whether Putin decides to cut the export of oil or if it gets put on the West’s list of sanctioned items.”