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Crude Import Cost May Rise 29% for U.S., EU, Japan, IEA Says

The cost of oil imports for the U.S., European Union and Japan may rise about 29 percent to $900 billion this year if crude prices average $100 a barrel, according to estimates from the International Energy Agency.

This would be almost $200 billion more than the U.S., Europe and Japan might have to spend on crude imports this year, “potentially threatening their economic recoveries,” Fatih Birol, the Paris-based agency’s chief economist, said today in an e-mail.

The U.S. may pay $385 billion for oil imports this year if crude averages $100 a barrel, compared with $305 billion in 2010, the IEA estimated. Fuel shipments to the EU are projected to cost $375 billion, versus $299 billion last year, it said.

The agency previously estimated oil import costs for its 28 member countries at $790 billion at the end of 2010, according to a Jan. 5 statement on the IEA’s website.

The increase in import costs, “triggered by high oil prices, is equal to a loss of income of 0.5 percent of the OECD countries’ combined gross domestic product,” the agency said.

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