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Petroleum import prices rise during 2009-2012, despite higher U.S. production and lower consumption

August 26, 2013

While the volume of petroleum imports to the United States started to decline as early as 2006 and domestic production began increasing in 2009, the price index for imported petroleum continued to rise until 2012. 

U.S. Petroleum Import Price Index, January 2009–December 2012
MonthPrice index (January 2009 = 100)Average annual index value (2009 = 100)

Jan 2009

100.0100.0

Feb 2009

105.4

Mar 2009

117.2

Apr 2009

129.0

May 2009

143.3

Jun 2009

167.9

Jul 2009

164.0

Aug 2009

176.4

Sep 2009

175.4

Oct 2009

179.6

Nov 2009

189.3

Dec 2009

187.3

Jan 2010

194.4128.4

Feb 2010

192.9

Mar 2010

197.6

Apr 2010

204.8

May 2010

193.9

Jun 2010

186.0

Jul 2010

187.5

Aug 2010

190.1

Sep 2010

187.6

Oct 2010

196.4

Nov 2010

206.3

Dec 2010

217.7

Jan 2011

225.8175.2

Feb 2011

238.2

Mar 2011

264.4

Apr 2011

285.6

May 2011

283.4

Jun 2011

276.6

Jul 2011

277.6

Aug 2011

271.2

Sep 2011

268.8

Oct 2011

268.1

Nov 2011

277.3

Dec 2011

276.6

Jan 2012

276.7174.7

Feb 2012

277.5

Mar 2012

291.0

Apr 2012

289.3

May 2012

272.8

Jun 2012

248.4

Jul 2012

242.6

Aug 2012

257.6

Sep 2012

268.1

Oct 2012

267.9

Nov 2012

260.1

Dec 2012

252.5

Several factors helped keep import prices rising until 2012. Strong global demand, especially from Asia; lower production from several nations that are members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC); and global supply shocks all contributed to increasing prices. By 2012, the growth in production worldwide, coupled with steadying global demand, started to drive prices down.

In 2010, import prices for petroleum rose 28.4 percent over the 2009 figure, on the strength of robust global demand. Demand from Asia was particularly strong. Much of the increase in consumption came from China, which experienced record demand during the year.

The rise in import petroleum prices in 2011 (36.4 percent) was even more pronounced. Supply concerns resulting from political unrest in North Africa and strong worldwide demand contributed to the higher prices. The political unrest began with protests against the Egyptian government and continued with a civil war that broke out in neighboring Libya, producing uncertainty that contributed to a worldwide rise in petroleum prices. Strong demand from Asian countries continued in 2011.

After 2 consecutive years of sizable increases, import prices leveled off in 2012, falling 0.3 percent for the year.

These data are from the International Price program and are featured in the Beyond the Numbers article, "The reemergence of the United States as a global petroleum producer" (August 2013).

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Editor's Desk, Petroleum import prices rise during 2009-2012, despite higher U.S. production and lower consumption on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2013/ted_20130826.htm (visited August 22, 2014).

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