Federal data: US petroleum imports headed below 40 percent

The higher crude production is helping to drive down imports. Total petroleum imports — a metric that includes crude oil, various refined fuels and other products — are around 41 percent this year and expected to fall below 40 percent in 2013, EIA said.

The peak was in 2005 at 60 percent, according to the agency.

When it comes to crude oil specifically, the U.S. imports roughly 57 percent of the nearly 15 million barrels-per-day refiners use, according to EIA. Crude oil imports are slated to fall by 400,000 barrels-per-day in 2012, EIA estimates.

Elsewhere, EIA has lowered its gasoline price forecast.

“U.S. drivers will get a bigger price break at the gasoline pump during the fourth quarter than previously thought, as EIA revised downward its estimate for the average gasoline price during the period to $3.56 a gallon,” said EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski in a statement about the latest monthly report.

“Drivers saw gasoline prices fall by about 25 cents per gallon during October as refiners switched from producing summer-grade gasoline required to fight smog in the hot months to cheaper winter-grade fuel. Lower crude oil prices, which make up about two-thirds of the pump price, also contributed to lower gasoline costs,” he said.

The agency expects regular gasoline prices to average $3.44 per gallon in 2013, compared to a projected $3.64 average in 2012.