The U.S. has a message for oil producers poised to make a key decision on crude output on Thursday: The world’s biggest oil consumer doesn’t really need you that much anymore. U.S. net oil imports, including crude and refined products, last week dropped to just 1.77 million barrels a day, the lowest level in data going back to 1990, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported Wednesday. That puts the country on track toward its lowest monthly imports since before the Arab oil embargo of 1973. Weekly net imports peaked in November 2005 at more than 14 million barrels a day.
Sure, the Keystone Pipeline outage has something to do with the shortfall in Canadian crude exports to the Midwest. But gasoline exports — a stunning 1.21 million barrels a day — eclipsed the prior record set last December.