Energy Security:

An Overview of Changes in the World Oil Market

RCED-88-170: Published: Aug 31, 1988. Publicly Released: Aug 31, 1988.

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GAO evaluated changes in the world oil market to: (1) determine how U.S. vulnerability to an oil crisis has changed in the last decade; and (2) identify areas of potential significance to U.S. energy security.

GAO found that: (1) lower oil imports and oil consumption have significantly curtailed U.S. and other major oil-importing countries' dependency on imported oil; (2) abundant oil supplies, increased competition for oil revenues, and less hazardous transportation routes reduced the prospects of a significant oil shortfall; and (3) the United States and other major oil-importing countries have built significant emergency oil stocks and developed other measures to mitigate the effects of a serious disruption. GAO believes that the United States could further reduce its dependency on oil by: (1) developing alternative fuels and emphasizing more efficient fuel use in the transportation sector; (2) continuing to build strategic oil stocks and resolving related disputes within the International Energy Agency; (3) adopting standby measures to limit overreliance on the Strategic Petroleum Reserve; and (4) maintaining a stable economic and regulatory atmosphere to encourage investments in oil and alternative energy programs.

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