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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Gas Guzzlers

WASHINGTON () -- American drivers are consuming record quantities of gasoline so far this year, with about half refined from imported oil.

The nation's dependency on imported oil is also setting records as domestic production of oil slowly declines.

The prospect, oil industry experts say, is for all these trends to continue robustly, at least as long as the economy remains strong. But the heavy demand means that any sharp increase in gasoline prices would have a even bigger effect on the American economy.

Oil imports, which account for about 50 percent of consumption, fill far more of Americans' petroleum needs than they did at the beginning of the first oil crisis in 1973, when they accounted for 36 percent of the oil supply. American production is declining because it is easier to obtain oil from other countries than from the dwindling reserves in the United States.