This will be the fourth straight year of crude increases and the biggest single-year gain since 1951. The Energy Department forecasts production of crude and other liquid hydrocarbons, which includes biofuels, will average 11.4 million barrels per day next year. That would be just shy of the amount Saudi Arabia produces.
"We've been a long time net importer of crude oil by a large amount," says Ben Brockwell of the Oil Price Information Service. "There are expert analysts who predict that within the next five years, the U-S could be an exporter of crude oil."