Use of Oil

Use of Oil

Crude oil and other liquids produced from fossil fuels are refined into petroleum products that people use for many different purposes. Biofuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel, are also used as petroleum products, mainly in mixtures with gasoline and diesel fuel.

Petroleum is the largest U.S. energy source. We use petroleum products to propel vehicles, to heat buildings, and to produce electricity. In the industrial sector, the petrochemical industry uses petroleum as a raw material (a feedstock) to make products such as plastics, polyurethane, solvents, and hundreds of other intermediate and end-user goods.

In 2017, U.S. petroleum consumption averaged about 19.96 million barrels per day (b/d), which included about 1 million b/d of biofuels.

Did you know?

The transportation sector accounts for the largest share of U.S. petroleum consumption.

U.S. petroleum consumption by sector and share of total in 2017

  • Transportation—14.02 million barrels per day (b/d)—71%
  • Industrial—4.76 million b/d—24%
  • Residential—0.52 million b/d—3%
  • Commercial—0.47 million b/d—2%
  • Electric power—0.10 million b/d—1%

What are the petroleum products people consume most?

Petroleum products consumed in 2017

Product Annual consumption (million barrels per day)
Finished motor gasoline1 9.327
Distillate fuel oil (diesel fuel and heating oil)1 3.932
Hydrocarbon gas liquids (HGL) 2.643
Kerosene-type jet fuel 1.682
Still gas 0.690
Petrochemical feedstocks 0.351
Asphalt and road oil 0.351
Residual fuel oil 0.342
Petroleum coke 0.316
Miscellaneous products and other liquids2 0.130
Lubricants 0.121
Special napthas 0.052
Aviation gasoline 0.011
Kerosene 0.005
Waxes 0.005
Total petroleum products 19.958

1Includes fuel ethanol in gasoline and biodiesel in distillate fuels.
2Others includes other liquids not included in the table.
Note: Sum of individual products may not equal total because of independent rounding.
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Petroleum and Other Liquids—Product Supplied, as of August 31, 2018

Gasoline is the most consumed petroleum product in the United States. In 2017, consumption of finished motor gasoline averaged about 9.33 million b/d (392 million gallons per day), which was equal to about 47% of total U.S. petroleum consumption.

Distillate fuel oil is the second most-consumed petroleum product in the United States. Distillate fuel oil includes diesel fuel and heating oil. Diesel fuel is used in the diesel engines of heavy construction equipment, trucks, buses, tractors, boats, trains, some automobiles, and electricity generators. Heating oil, also called fuel oil, is used in boilers and furnaces for heating homes and buildings, for industrial heating, and for producing electricity in power plants. Total distillate fuel oil consumption in 2017 averaged about 3.93 million b/d, which was equal to 20% of total U.S. petroleum consumption.

Hydrocarbon gas liquids (HGL), the third most-used category of petroleum in the United States, include propane, ethane, butane, and other hydrocarbon gas liquids that are produced at natural gas processing plants and oil refineries. HGL consumption in 2017 averaged about 2.64 million b/d. The petrochemical industry uses HGL as feedstock for making many products.

Propane, a heavily consumed HGL, is also used in homes for space heating and water heating, for clothes drying, for cooking, for heating greenhouses and livestock housing, for drying crops, and as a transportation fuel.

Jet fuel is the fourth most-used petroleum product in the United States. Jet fuel consumption averaged about 1.68 million b/d in 2017.

Top five gasoline consuming states, 2017

State Million barrels/day Million gallons/day Share of total U.S. consumption
Texas 1.02 42.78 11%
California 0.95 39.85 11%
Florida 0.48 20.25   5%
New York 0.36 15.09   4%
Georgia 0.32 13.64   4%

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Petroleum and Other Liquids—Prime Supplier Sales Volumes, as of August 21, 2018

How much petroleum does the world consume?

Total world consumption of petroleum in 2015 was about 93 million b/d. The five largest petroleum-consuming countries in 2015 and their shares of total world petroleum consumption

  • United States—20.5%
  • China—12.6%
  • Japan—4.3%
  • India—4.3%
  • Russia—3.7%

What is the outlook for U.S. petroleum consumption?

The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects in the Annual Energy Outlook 2018 Reference case that petroleum and other liquids will continue to contribute the largest share of total U.S. energy consumption through 2050, although the share in 2050 will be slightly lower than the share in 2017. Also in the Reference case, petroleum continues as the main energy source for the transportation sector, but the volume of petroleum consumption in the transportation sector is projected to be about 14% lower in 2050 than the volume in 2017.


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