December data from the EIA indicate the United States imported around 2.4 million barrels of Canadian crude oil per day, eclipsing Saudi Arabia and Mexico with a combined 2.1 million bpd.
Critics of U.S. President Barack Obama say his energy policies fall short of what's needed to shield the country from overseas crises. Tensions with Iran are part of the reason for higher energy prices in recent weeks.
The Obama administration counters that oil production in the United States is reaching high levels, though others say that's because of policies enacted by the previous administration.
Canadian officials said they were looking to deliver more crude oil to Asian markets because of delays in a presidential permit for the planned Keystone XL oil pipeline from Alberta.
The EIA said global petroleum consumption increased 36 percent to 23 million barrels per day from 1980-2010. During that period, consumption in North America increased 16 percent though Asian demand for petroleum increased 146 percent to nearly 15 million barrels per day.
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