Voices for Affordable Energy

March 14, 2012

Energy Facts

High gas prices are an unexpected tax on American families and businesses. At the moment, American consumers are not only paying more for oil and gasoline, but as a nation, we’re importing more oil at these high prices, which is driving up our deficit and hurting our competitiveness.

  • The average U.S. household spent more than $4,000 on gasoline in 2011, almost $1,000 more than in 2010.
  • Only about 2.2 percent of America’s offshore acreage is currently leased for production.
  • The United States has about 86 billion barrels of undiscovered oil in its Outer Continental Shelf. Alone, Alaska has about 24 billion barrels of oil in unleased federal waters.
  • The oil and natural gas industry currently supports 5.3% of total U.S. employment. To put this in perspective, the number of jobs supported by the upstream oil and natural gas industry segment alone in 2010—2.2 million—is larger than the populations of 15 states.
  • One out of every five new jobs created between 2003 and 2011 was in the oil and natural gas industry.
  • If permitting on federal lands returned to 2008 levels, the projected federal royalties could total over $2.1 billion in five years.
  • According to one estimate, the decreases in investment due to the Gulf of Mexico drilling moratorium, total U.S. employment is estimated to have been reduced by 72,000 jobs in 2010 and approximately 91,000 jobs in 2011.
  • Oil and gas extraction alone created 150,000 jobs last year – about 9 percent of all new jobs created in 2011.

    Sources: U.S. Energy Information Administration; U.S. Department of Interior Bureau of Oceans Energy Management, Enforcement and Regulation; American Petroleum Institute; Energy for America; Energy Policy Information Center; Energy Tomorrow; New York Times