The U.S. population is a major consumer of oil and the United States can't produce enough oil on its own to meet this demand. In 2008, the United States produced around 4.9 million barrels of crude oil per day [source: U.S. Energy Information Administration] -- that's almost two billion of barrels of crude oil for the year! However, the United States still has to import more than twice that amount to fill its business and consumer needs. Looking again at 2008, the United States imported around 9.8 million barrels of crude oil per day from other countries [source: U.S. Energy Information Administration], and that comes out to a whopping 3.5 billion barrels per year!

The United States uses all this crude oil in a number of ways; converting it to gasoline to run cars, trucks and other motor vehicles is just one use. The crude oil is also converted into heating oil – kerosene -- and it is used in a high number of manufactured goods. Keeping up with demand can be difficult and the oil companies continually look for new ways to improve production. In addition to looking for new sources to produce the crude oil, the oil companies also try to get more production out of the wells and deposits they already know about. For example, oil companies constantly work to increase drilling, extracting and refining capabilities, which can all lead to increased oil production.