How much oil money does the U.S. send to OPEC and OPEC-partners?

It’s more than you think.

Many Americans are under the illusion that the recent shale revolution has made us self-sufficient on fuel from our own oil production. But the truth is that we still import about 40 percent of the oil we consume every day.

What’s worse is that a significant portion of our imported oil still flows from OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) and OPEC-partner nations. These are countries that are colluding to raise the price of oil globally, which hurts drivers at the pump. Also troubling is that many of these countries act to undermine American interests, oppress their own people and promote toxic ideologies. Some Gulf states are even suspected of funneling oil revenues to fund terrorists that carry out attacks against the United States and our allies.

So exactly how much money do we spend on oil imports from these countries?

oil money to OPEC

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Let’s begin with Saudi Arabia, a country where women are treated like second-class citizens and some Saudi citizens are suspected of directly funding terrorist groups. We send them $60.8 million each and every day for their crude oil.

Next up, Iraq, a country whose military has been documented carrying out “summary executions, beatings of men in custody, enforced disappearances, and mutilation of corpses” and where domestic violence isn’t a crime. We send them $23.3 million every day for oil.

And Venezuela, a declared national security threat to the United States with a list of human rights violations ranging from torture to the murder of political opponents to unaccountable security forces that commit crimes with impunity? We send them $43.8 million every 24 hours.

We also send huge sums of oil money to non-OPEC nations that are notorious human rights abusers (Angola, Kuwait, Libya, United Arab Emirates, Qatar) or have strained relationships with the United States (Algeria, Ecuador, Russia) — and oftentimes both. All told, we send more than a quarter of a billion dollars — at least $254.2 million— to these countries every single day of the year. Over the course of a year, this adds up to more than $92.7 billion. To put that in perspective, that’s enough for the United States to “eradicate” homelessness and make public college tuition free—or enough for our enemies to build thousands of tanks and fighter jets.

So not only are we losing money that could be put to better use at home and potentially support millions of jobs, much of that money is going to oppressive and often anti-American regimes around the world. There’s a better way.

Instead of importing foreign oil, let’s take advantage of the cheaper, cleaner natural resources we have here at home and put them to work fueling our cars. We don’t have to send this money to countries that don’t like us and don’t share our values. We can keep it at home and gain millions of jobs in the process. It’s right for our economy and for our national security, a win-win.

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