Oil imports hit a six-year high in August.
The United States imported an average of 6.85 million barrels a day of crude and refined products, up 49% from a year ago and just under the previous high of 6.9 million barrels in June, 1980, the American Petroleum Institute said. The industry-funded institute blamed plunging prices, increased demand and shrinking domestic production for the big jump. Greater dependence on imported oil has been the major reason for concern about the recent collapse in oil prices. The institute said that Americans used 3.2% more gasoline in August than they did in August, 1985, but that domestic production declined because of the low prices.