A Fact-Check for the Four-Color World

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

CAF #14: Oil's Well That Ends Well

Last week, Captain America & The Falcon drew to a close with #14. Last issue, the Anti-Cap killed the royal family of the fictional Middle Eastern country of Baud Olan. While Cap is visiting the Wakandan consulate in New York, the Wakandan attendant, Omoro, tells him:

"The entire planet is now watching how America responds to this world crisis. 63% of America's fuel comes from Baud Olan..."

Now while it's fair to say that the Marvel Universe may have different allocations of resources than our world (last I checked, we were lacking in the vibranium and adamantium departments), consider the real numbers, cribbed from the Department of Energy, for comparison.

The United States gets 40% of its energy from oil, 24% from natural gas, and 23% from coal. With regard to the last, the U.S. supplies about 98% of our coal needs from domestic sources. As for the middle, we produce about 80% of our natural gas needs, and another 16% comes from our friendly neighbor to the north, Canada.

Frankly, the notion of the U.S. importing 63% of our total fuel from overseas is so ridiculous that we'll just assume that when Omoro said "fuel" he meant "oil." It's not like Middle Eastern nations export natural gas or coal anyway, so this is certainly an assumption in his favor.

So looking only at oil, the U.S. deals in about 19.6 million barrels a day. 7.8 million of those barrels are produced domestically, with 11.8 million barrels being imported each day. 40% of our oil is domestic, and all our foreign suppliers, combined, add up to only 60% of our oil supply.

And who do we import from? Canada and Mexico each export 1.6 million barrels a day, followed by Saudi Arabia at 1.5 million, Venezuela at 1.3 million, and Nigeria at 1.1 million. This leaves 4.7 million barrels, or 24% of our oil supply, coming from all other countries. Even if every drop of that came from Baud Olan, that's awfully shy of 63%.

Thus, if Omoro is to be believed, this little country that no one in the Marvel Universe has ever mentioned before supplies as much U.S. oil in the MU as the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Saudi Arabia (the four biggest suppliers of American-consumed oil) together do in our world. Could the Marvelverse's oil reserves really be that extreme? I think Omoro would be well-served to check his facts before his next political discussion.