WASHINGTON – The U.S. Energy Information Administration recently reported that U.S. crude oil imports fell to their lowest level in 12 years in 2011 and was down 12% from its peak level in 2005.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 8.9 million barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2011, down 3.2% (0.3 million bbl/d) from the year before. Imports of crude oil fell below 9 million bbl/d for the first time since 1999, according to full-year trade data in EIA's February Petroleum Supply Monthly. Since reaching a peak of 10.1 million bbl/d in 2005, oil imports are down or 1.2 million bbl/d (12%).

The EIA stated that purchases of imported crude oil declined because refiners in the U.S. have more access to domestic oil, citing more regionally produced oil available in Texas and North Dakota as examples.