Ethanol vs Saudi Oil in U.S. Energy Supply

While this is far from being something to applaud in an unalloyed way, it is at least worth noticing: Ethanol has almost caught up to Saudi oil as a percentage of U.S. energy imports.


[via Bloomberg]


  1. A striking chart for a several reasons:

    1. Comparing crude oil to ethanol is worse than apples to oranges.
    2. Imports from Saudi Arabia have fallen (maybe 30%) over the past decade.
    3. Holy crap, ethanol consumption jumped 20 fold in a decade!
    4. The log scale makes it really difficult to interpret.
    5. All of that ethanol is produced domesticly and not imported. This was the best data I could find:
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  2. Please do not post articles that can remotely construe ethanol as a good idea. It is poor economics by every measure and an appalling use of land resources. It enables and supports the worst kind of eco-politics.

  3. Poor use of log chart, to the point of being misleading, as the decline in Saudi Imports is muted by comparison with the increase in Ethanol. And agreed 100% Ethanol is a really bad idea.

  4. Duncan Stewart says:

    Leaving aside log issues, or appropriateness of ethanol, is this right? Best estimate I can find of US ethanol production is 13.2 billion gallons, or about 315 million barrels. Given that according to EIA, Saudi oil imports are 1.2 million barrels PER DAY (YTD 2011), or about 440 million bbls per year, the gap seems to be much larger.

    What am I missing?

  5. George L says:

    "A fourth document quotes the Saudi assistant petroleum minister as expressing concern to Ambassador James Smith that Saudis could be "greened" out of the U.S. market. The minister noted in 2009 that the United States for the first time had consumed more ethanol than it did Saudi oil.

    Read more:

  6. Jay Gould says: