We only get 17% of our oil from Canada, but 42% of our imports are from OPEC. The other 41% comes from other places. So saying that we get most of our oil from Canada is incorrect.
But when you look at the nations individually, Canada *IS* the single largest country to export to the US. But from OPEC as a whole (those nations combined) we get twice as much oil from them as we do from Canada.
In 2003, 12,500 thousand barrels per day were imported to the US:
The USA recieved:
5172 thousand barrels *per day* from OPEC
2484 thousand barrels *per day* from Persion Gulf nations
2068 thousand barrels *per day* from Canada
1639 thousand barrels *per day* from Mexico
So even though the "single country" that exports the most oil to the US is Canada, we actually get 83% of our oil from elsewhere.
Here is the full chart from the US Dept of Energy:
Gibson Consulting says there are a number of reasons for the high oil prices, and gives these reasons:
The price of Crude is up - as high as $60 per barrel.
This is because worldwide supply is tight and 1) gasoline demand in the US is up despite high prices - 4.3% more than 2003. This means Americans are not conserving and are actually increasing the demand. This is not trivial considering that the US, with 5% of the world's population, consumes 45% of the gasoline produced on earth. 2) Gasoline demand is also surging in China, where crude oil imports increased 30% in 2003.
Refinery capacity in the US is near its maximum. One refinery in California closed in 2004. Oil tanker capacity for trans-oceanic shipping is also 100% reserved for the forseeable future, and shipping costs have nearly tripled
The US deficit, around $500 billion in 2004, causes the value of the dollar to decline. Because oil is priced in dollars, no matter where in the world it comes from, producers want higher prices in order to maintain their income.
The US Government is buying at these high prices supplies for the strategic petroleum reserve. A minor impact, but some.
Local requirements for special gasoline blends to meet environmental regulations result in smaller batches, which are more expensive for refineries to produce. Applies especially to California.
Costs reflect distance from refineries (transportation cost). In the US, 50% of gasoline is refined in the Gulf Coast.
Variations reflect local taxes. Federal excise tax on gasoline is about 19¢ per gallon; state tax averages about 23¢ per gallon; in California there is an additional 7.5% sales tax.
Economic woes in Venezuela are impacting US imports more than problems in the Middle East. US imports from Venezuela were down 19% in 2003, and Venezuela, Mexico, Canada, and Saudi Arabia are the US's main suppliers, normally at about 15% each — but Venezuela in 2003 only provided about 12% of our imports (see table).
Any time there is a problem with a pipeline or refinery, it can impact the supply of gasoline at least in local markets, and the price can spike.
Credit card fees paid by retailers amount to about 3.5%, or 7 cents a gallon at $2.00 per gallon. This is more than enough to eliminate all profit for the retailer, and in many cases results in an actual loss of several cents per gallon -- absorbed either through increased pump prices or in other elements of a retailer's business. Retailers with no other sources of profit may go out of business, further restricting ability to deliver gasoline. So don't blame the corner gas station -- even the company-owned ones. The latter may absorb such losses through profits elsewhere in the system, but a loss is still a loss.
Even with all of this, the true price of gasoline has fallen more than 40% from its inflation-adjusted price of $2.77 per gallon in 1981. And in the US, at $1.90 per gallon, we pay about one-third of the price western Europeans and others have paid for many years. Icelanders pay about $6.12 per gallon.
See also the EIA page, Primer on Gasoline Prices.