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States producing the most oil

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Pixabay

States producing the most oil

Electric cars, bikes, and scooters may populate many city streets and sidewalks, but the United States remains a country heavily dependent on oil. Since 2018, crude oil production rose from 2,734,901 annual-thousand barrels to 4,011,521 annual-thousand barrels.

Of course, Americans use oil for more than just transportation. Industrial and residential life is still very much shaped by oil. For example, crude oil can be refined into petroleum products that produce electricity—despite a growing push from some voters and businesses for more renewable energy usage. Oil can also produce a variety of byproducts including plastics, tars, chemicals, lubricants, and waxes.

Using 2018 data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Stacker ranked the 25 states producing over 1 million oil barrels a year. Each state is ranked by barrels of oil produced, and detailed by the history of the state’s oil industry, major industry players, notable oil basins, regulations, and the presence of fracking or other unconventional production methods.

Longtime industry giants like Texas, California, and Oklahoma are present on the list, but there are a few newcomers such as Pennsylvania, which is the only state representing the Northeast. You will also find Pennsylvania’s neighbor to the west, which has quite the rich oil history—Ohio was the original home of Standard Oil, the monopoly that defined the oil industry and much of American economics in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Other hot spots include states near the Gulf of Mexico, although some of those traditional oil powerhouses incur fluctuations when affected by major oil spills. Also, a state’s changing environment can also impact its yearly ranking—Florida, for instance with its wide swaths of wetlands and rare species, has made oil production a precarious endeavor.

Whether you’re a roughneck aficionado or simply a fan of “There Will Be Blood,” click through to find out which states are on the rise and decline in terms of oil production.

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Sopotnicki // Shutterstock

#25. South Dakota

- 2018 crude oil production: 1.3 million barrels
- 2013 crude oil production: 1.9 million barrels
- Change since 2013: -32%

According to the South Dakota Oil and Gas Association, the state has no oil refineries, but vertical wells in the western lands contribute enough oil to put the Mount Rushmore state into the top 25. In recent years, South Dakota has made a series of changes to its oil and gas laws, including prohibition of storage, or disposal of most liquid oil and gas field wastes in earthen pits or open receptacles.

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Amy Nichole Harris // Shutterstock

#24. Indiana

- 2018 crude oil production: 1.7 million barrels
- 2013 crude oil production: 2.4 million barrels
- Change since 2013: -29.8%

Indiana’s oil industry dates back to around 1889, when a well in the aptly named Wells county began producing significant amounts of oil. Given the pageantry and history of the Indianapolis 500, companies with oil ties are major sports sponsors in Indiana. Even the Indianapolis Colts play inside Lucas Oil Stadium.

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Pixabay

#23. Florida

- 2018 crude oil production: 1.8 million barrels
- 2013 crude oil production: 2.2 million barrels
- Change since 2013: -15.4%

Florida is a state embroiled in the hottest debates revolving around the oil industry. With Florida’s vast miles of natural wetlands and rare species, environmentalists fight ardently to keep drilling to a minimum. Fracking is also a hot-button issue in the Sunshine State.

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shannonpatrick17 // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Nebraska

- 2018 crude oil production: 2.1 million barrels
- 2013 crude oil production: 2.8 million barrels
- Change since 2013: -26.8%

Nebraska’s oil production is mostly confined to the western and southern areas of the state. According to the Lincoln Journal Star, instead of fracking, local companies use three-dimensional seismic imaging to find oil hot spots.

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Jennifer Mae Kilby Laws // Shutterstock

#21. Kentucky

- 2018 crude oil production: 2.3 million barrels
- 2013 crude oil production: 2.3 million barrels
- Change since 2013: -1.7%

Traditionally, the eastern and western corners of Kentucky have been oil-rich sectors. Founded in 1829, Kentucky’s Old American Well was one of the first commercial oil wells in the United States. Fracking exists in the state, but has not been fruitful.

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Bonita R. Cheshier // Shutterstock

#20. Arkansas

- 2018 crude oil production: 5.0 million barrels
- 2013 crude oil production: 6.6 million barrels
- Change since 2013: -24.4%

Oil is big business in Arkansas. For example, local newspapers print weekly oil and gas reports for drilling permits and well completions. Meanwhile, organizations like the Arkansas Oil Marketers Association have been notable in influencing state legislation related to the oil industry.

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Dwight Burdette // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Michigan

- 2018 crude oil production: 5.4 million barrels
- 2013 crude oil production: 7.8 million barrels
- Change since 2013: -30.5%

According to records, oil was first discovered in Michigan in 1925, in Saginaw. As fracking has made its way to Michigan, attempts to ban the practice have yet to yield results.

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Chuck Kennedy/Official White House Photo // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Alabama

- 2018 crude oil production: 5.9 million barrels
- 2013 crude oil production: 10.4 million barrels
- Change since 2013: -43.5%

Thanks to its location near the Gulf of Mexico, Alabama has drawn in big companies like Exxon, Shell, and Texaco throughout its oil-producing history. Recently, Alabama has benefitted from government-related energy funds. In the most recent fiscal year, Alabama received $34 million in such financial aid.

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Nicholas A. Tonelli // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Pennsylvania

- 2018 crude oil production: 6.5 million barrels
- 2013 crude oil production: 5.3 million barrels
- Change since 2013: +22.1%

A wide swath of Pennsylvania sits atop the Marcellus Shale, which has been described as “one of the largest natural gas fields in the world.” As a result, Pennsylvania was one of the first states to explore fracking. Recently, the state promised $3 million to study possible links between fracking and a rise in childhood cancer rates.

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Dual Freq // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Illinois

- 2018 crude oil production: 8.4 million barrels
- 2013 crude oil production: 9.5 million barrels
- Change since 2013: -11.7%

The southern portion of Illinois is rich in oil, and aptly named the Illinois Basin. Drilling first occurred in 1853 in Champaign, and today, 1,500 operators control wells in the state. Earlier this decade, fracking was all the rage in Illinois, but the process has quickly died down.

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Daderot // Wikimedia Commons

#15. West Virginia

- 2018 crude oil production: 11.6 million barrels
- 2013 crude oil production: 7.2 million barrels
- Change since 2013: +60.5%

West Virginia is another state on top of the Marcellus Shale, and a major area for fracking. However, there are residents upset with the uptick in fracking production, which critics believe is affecting their quality of life. Oil first became ingrained in West Virginia’s economy during the early 19th century.

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Andyminicooper // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Mississippi

- 2018 crude oil production: 17 million barrels
- 2013 crude oil production: 24.1 million barrels
- Change since 2013: -29.5%

Mississippi’s location along the Gulf Coast makes for wealthy real estate for the oil industry. Because of the high rate of drilling occurring in and around the state, Mississippi has also been on the receiving end of the negative impacts of oil production. In 2010, oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill reached Mississippi’s shores, greatly affecting the local ecosystem.

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Pixabay

#13. Montana

- 2018 crude oil production: 21.5 million barrels
- 2013 crude oil production: 29.3 million barrels
- Change since 2013: -26.5%

Despite allowing fracking, Montana has seen a reduction in crude oil production over the past five years. Still, that hasn’t lessened the concerns of some who worry about the quality of water in the state due to increased fracking. Radioactive waste from fracking activities also concerns some locals.

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James St. John // Flickr

#12. Ohio

- 2018 crude oil production: 23.2 million barrels
- 2013 crude oil production: 8 million barrels
- Change since 2013: +190.0%

During the 20th century, Marathon Petroleum was one of Ohio’s most recognizable companies and a backbone of the state’s oil industry. In the 19th century, Standard Oil was Ohio’s oil king. Earlier this decade, the discovery of the Utica Shale sent oil enthusiasts toward eastern Ohio in search of the next big oil wave.

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roy.luck // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Kansas

- 2018 crude oil production: 34.7 million barrels
- 2013 crude oil production: 46.8 million barrels
- Change since 2013: -25.9%

Kansas was once among the Midwest’s giants of the oil industry, but a sharp decline sends the Jayhawk State out of the top 10 of this list. A drilling boom in south-central Kansas—from 2012 to 2015—has died down, drastically dropping oil production.

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Murray Foubister

#10. Utah

- 2018 crude oil production: 37.1 million barrels
- 2013 crude oil production: 35 million barrels
- Change since 2013: +5.8%

Despite a rise in oil production, Utah has come under scrutiny for a lack of oversight in its oil regulation. In November, the Utah Division of Oil, Gas, and Mining pursued its first fine in almost 25 years. Fracking is becoming a heavily debated issue in Utah, as well.

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Paul Heinrich // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Louisiana

- 2018 crude oil production: 48.8 million barrels
- 2013 crude oil production: 72.3 million barrels
- Change since 2013: -32.4%

Oil has been a driving force in Louisiana for decades, but the state received the brunt of negative effects from the Deepwater Horizon disaster. In the aftermath of the worst oil spill in U.S. history, the rig’s operators are now paying billions in settlement payments to Louisiana. Over the past decade, oil production notably dropped in the state.

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BLM Wyoming // Flickr

#8. Wyoming

- 2018 crude oil production: 88.0 million barrels
- 2013 crude oil production: 63.5 million barrels
- Change since 2013: +38.6%

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Wyoming is the biggest net energy supplier in the country. Oil has become a major component of that effort, with it’s 38.6% increase in crude oil production since 2013. The state’s first refinery was in Casper, founded in 1895.

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Sanjay Acharya // Wikimedia Commons

#7. California

- 2018 crude oil production: 169.2 million barrels
- 2013 crude oil production: 198.9 million barrels
- Change since 2013: -15.0%

Headquartered in San Ramon, Chevron has been a giant in the oil industry since the downfall of its predecessor, Standard Oil. California’s oil industry is not just confined to barren fields; Los Angeles has a rich history of oil production, dating back to 1892. While California is one of the nation’s biggest oil producers, tougher laws led to a crackdown on fracking permits.

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Gillfoto // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Alaska

- 2018 crude oil production: 174.8 million barrels
- 2013 crude oil production: 187.9 million barrels
- Change since 2013: -7.0%

Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay funneled millions into the state’s coffers beginning in 1980, paying for the “vast majority of Alaska's government services,” according to NPR. But Prudhoe Bay is not as productive as before, putting Alaska’s oil future in jeopardy. In 1989, Alaska was the site of one of the worst oil spills in history, when the Exxon Valdez lost 11 million gallons of oil after crashing into a reef.

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rCarner // Shutterstock

#5. Colorado

- 2018 crude oil production: 177.8 million barrels
- 2013 crude oil production: 66.2 million barrels
- Change since 2013: +168.5%

Colorado’s first oil well was drilled in Florence, in 1860. Today, Suncor Energy operates the state’s lone major refinery, and oil production has almost tripled since 2013. One of the reasons for the boom is Colorado voters not restricting fracking levels.

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Babymestizo // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Oklahoma

- 2018 crude oil production: 200.7 million barrels
- 2013 crude oil production: 123.7 million barrels
- Change since 2013: +62.2%

In 1859, oil was discovered in Salina, kicking off Oklahoma’s 160-year history in the oil industry. Today, Gulfport is one of the state’s biggest energy producers. Oklahoma is heavily invested in fracking, which has possibly led to some earthquakes in the state.

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sumikophoto // Shutterstock

#3. New Mexico

- 2018 crude oil production: 249.0 million barrels
- 2013 crude oil production: 102.8 million barrels
- Change since 2013: +142.2%

New Mexico had one of the largest oil booms in recent years, and the profits could even go to support a free-college program. In fact, how New Mexico decides to spend its oil riches is of great debate among the state’s residents. Oil beneficiaries may have to reap what they can, while they can, though, as the state hopes to become reliant on renewable energy in the near future.

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Lindsey G // Wikimedia Commons

#2. North Dakota

- 2018 crude oil production: 461.5 million barrels
- 2013 crude oil production: 312.3 million barrels
- Change since 2013: +47.8%

The Bakken Shale made North Dakota an oil superpower. Fracking opened up the state to new oil sources, but the increased activity on the Bakken Shale came with troubles, too. Local authorities have had to battle rising crime rates in rural oil fields.

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Katie Haugland Bowen // Flickr

#1. Texas

- 2018 crude oil production: 1,609.1 million barrels
- 2013 crude oil production: 927.6 million barrels
- Change since 2013: +73.5%

Exxon Mobil, Valero, Phillips 66, and Shell Oil are just some of the companies with major headquarters located in Texas. Simply put, Texas is synonymous with oil, evident by outputting almost four times the amount of crude oil barrels than North Dakota—the second-largest oil producer in the U.S. Texas’s oil history dates back to when Spindletop Hill erupted in 1901.

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