Special Report

Every State's Top Import

To get an idea of how economically dependent the United States is on fossil fuels and motor vehicles, consider that in 16 states, including Massachusetts, Illinois, and Connecticut, crude oil or petroleum are the largest imports. In seven states, including Georgia, Florida, and Alabama, the top imports are motor vehicles or auto parts.

About 152 million Americans live in states where products related to fossil fuels or motor vehicles are the largest import categories, with a total import value of more than $170 billion. About a third of the value of all imports to Maryland are motor vehicles, while more than 43% of the value of all imports to Oklahoma is crude oil.  

To determine the top import by state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on imports from the U.S. Census Bureau’s USA Trade Online platform. Products, as identified by the Harmonized System categorization method, were ranked based on their total import value, measured by state of destination, in 2021. (The Harmonized System comprises more than 5,000 commodity groups, each identified by a six digit code. We chose the 4-digit level of detail.)

The so-called repaired imports is the top import category for Arizona, Kansas, North Carolina, and North Dakota. This category includes goods like industrial equipment or other products that are shipped to a manufacturer for repair and return. Pharmaceuticals (noted as medicaments) are the top imports in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and three other states. (See also: Industries that will shrink the most over the next decade.)

The top import in Kentucky and Wisconsin is blood and plasma. In New York, it is diamonds. The value of the top import in 17 states represents less than 10% of the total value of imports, while in four states, the top import makes up at least 40% of the total value of imports, led by Montana’s imports of crude oil. (These are countries most dependent on the oil trade.)

Click here for the top imports by state

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