Definitions, Sources and Explanatory Notes

 Category:   Petroleum Imports/Exports & Movements
 Topic:   U.S. Imports by Country of Origin

  Definitions

Key Terms Definition
Asphalt A dark-brown-to-black cement-like material containing bitumens as the predominant constituent obtained by petroleum processing; used primarily for road construction. It includes crude asphalt as well as the following finished products: cements, fluxes, the asphalt content of emulsions (exclusive of water), and petroleum distillates blended with asphalt to make cutback asphalts. Note: The conversion factor for asphalt is 5.5 barrels per short ton.
Aviation Gasoline Blending Components Naphthas which will be used for blending or compounding into finished aviation gasoline (e.g., straight-run gasoline, alkylate, reformate, benzene, toluene, and xylene). Excludes oxygenates (alcohols, ethers), butane, and pentanes plus. Oxygenates are reported as other hydrocarbons, hydrogen, and oxygenates.
Barrel A unit of volume equal to 42 U.S. gallons.
Biomass-Based Diesel Fuel Biodiesel and other renewable diesel fuel or diesel fuel blending components derived from biomass, but excluding renewable diesel fuel coprocessed with petroleum feedstocks.
Conventional Blendstock for Oxygenate Blending (CBOB) Motor gasoline blending components intended for blending with oxygenates to produce finished conventional motor gasoline.
Conventional Gasoline Finished motor gasoline not included in the oxygenated or reformulated gasoline categories. Excludes reformulated gasoline blendstock for oxygenate blending (RBOB) as well as other blendstock.
Crude Oil A mixture of hydrocarbons that exists in liquid phase in natural underground reservoirs and remains liquid at atmospheric pressure after passing through surface separating facilities. Depending upon the characteristics of the crude stream, it may also include:
  • Small amounts of hydrocarbons that exist in gaseous phase in natural underground reservoirs but are liquid at atmospheric pressure after being recovered from oil well (casinghead) gas in lease separators and are subsequently commingled with the crude stream without being separately measured. Lease condensate recovered as a liquid from natural gas wells in lease or field separation facilities and later mixed into the crude stream is also included;
  • Small amounts of nonhydrocarbons produced with the oil, such as sulfur and various metals;
  • Drip gases, and liquid hydrocarbons produced from tar sands, oil sands, gilsonite, and oil shale.


  • Liquids produced at natural gas processing plants are excluded. Crude oil is refined to produce a wide array of petroleum products, including heating oils; gasoline, diesel and jet fuels; lubricants; asphalt; ethane, propane, and butane; and many other products used for their energy or chemical content.
    Distillate Fuel Oil A general classification for one of the petroleum fractions produced in conventional distillation operations. It includes diesel fuels and fuel oils. Products known as No. 1, No. 2, and No. 4 diesel fuel are used in on-highway diesel engines, such as those in trucks and automobiles, as well as off-highway engines, such as those in railroad locomotives and agricultural machinery. Products known as No. 1, No. 2, and No. 4 fuel oils are used primarily for space heating and electric power generation.
    Finished Aviation Gasoline A complex mixture of relatively volatile hydrocarbons with or without small quantities of additives, blended to form a fuel suitable for use in aviation reciprocating engines. Fuel specifications are provided in ASTM Specification D 910 and Military Specification MIL-G-5572. Note: Data on blending components are not counted in data on finished aviation gasoline.
    Finished Motor Gasoline A complex mixture of relatively volatile hydrocarbons with or without small quantities of additives, blended to form a fuel suitable for use in spark-ignition engines. Motor gasoline, as defined in ASTM Specification D 4814 or Federal Specification VV-G-1690C, is characterized as having a boiling range of 122 to 158 degrees Fahrenheit at the 10 percent recovery point to 365 to 374 degrees Fahrenheit at the 90 percent recovery point. Motor Gasoline includes conventional gasoline; all types of oxygenated gasoline, including gasohol; and reformulated gasoline, but excludes aviation gasoline. Note: Volumetric data on blending components, such as oxygenates, are not counted in data on finished motor gasoline until the blending components are blended into the gasoline.
    Fuel Ethanol An anhydrous denatured aliphatic alcohol intended for gasoline blending as described in Oxygenates definition.
    Gasoline Treated as Blendstock (GTAB) Non-certified Foreign Refinery gasoline classified by an importer as blendstock to be either blended or reclassified with respect to reformulated or conventional gasoline. GTAB was classified on EIA surveys as either reformulated or conventional based on emissions performance and the intended end use in data through the end of December 2009. Designation of GTAB as reformulated or conventional was discontinued beginning with data for January 2010. GTAB was reported as a single product beginning with data for January 2010. GTAB data for January 2010 and later months is presented as conventional motor gasoline blending components when reported as a subset of motor gasoline blending components.
    Imports Receipts of crude oil and petroleum products into the 50 States and the District of Columbia from foreign countries, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and other U.S. possessions and territories.
    Kerosene A light petroleum distillate that is used in space heaters, cook stoves, and water heaters and is suitable for use as a light source when burned in wick-fed lamps. Kerosene has a maximum distillation temperature of 400 degrees Fahrenheit at the 10-percent recovery point, a final boiling point of 572 degrees Fahrenheit, and a minimum flash point of 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Included are No. 1-K and No. 2-K, the two grades recognized by ASTM Specification D 3699 as well as all other grades of kerosene called range or stove oil, which have properties similar to those of No. 1 fuel oil. See Kerosene-Type Jet Fuel.
    Kerosene-Type Jet Fuel A kerosene-based product having a maximum distillation temperature of 400 degrees Fahrenheit at the 10-percent recovery point and a final maximum boiling point of 572 degrees Fahrenheit and meeting ASTM Specification D 1655 and Military Specifications MIL-T-5624P and MIL-T-83133D (Grades JP-5 and JP-8). It is used for commercial and military turbojet and turboprop aircraft engines.
    Liquefied Petroleum Gases (LPG) A group of hydrocarbon-based gases derived from crude oil refining or nautral gas fractionation. They include: ethane, ethylene, propane, propylene, normal butane, butylene, isobutane, and isobutylene. For convenience of transportation, these gases are liquefied through pressurization.
    Lubricants Substances used to reduce friction between bearing surfaces or as process materials either incorporated into other materials used as processing aids in the manufacture of other products, or used as carriers of other materials. Petroleum lubricants may be produced either from distillates or residues. Lubricants include all grades of lubricating oils from spindle oil to cylinder oil and those used in greases.
    Motor Gasoline Blending Components Naphthas which will be used for blending or compounding into finished aviation or motor gasoline (e.g., straight-run gasoline, alkylate, reformate, benzene, toluene, and xylene). Excludes oxygenates (alcohols, ethers), butane, and pentanes plus.
    MTBE (Methyl tertiary butyl ether) An ether intended for gasoline blending as described in "Oxygenates."
    Naphtha Less Than 401º F A naphtha with a boiling range of less than 401º F that is intended for use as a petrochemical feedstock.
    OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) An intergovernmental organization whose stated objective is to "coordinate and unify the petroleum policies of member countries." It was created at the Baghdad Conference on September 10–14, 1960. Current members (with years of membership) include Algeria (1969–present), Angola (2007–present), Ecuador (1973–1992 and 2007–present), Iran (1960–present), Iraq (1960–present), Kuwait (1960–present), Libya (1962–present), Nigeria (1971–present), Qatar (1961–present), Saudi Arabia (1960–present), United Arab Emirates (1967–present), and Venezuela (1960–present). Countries no longer members of OPEC include Gabon (1975–1994) and Indonesia (1962–2008).
    Other Oils Equal To or Greater Than 401º F Oils with a boiling range equal to or greater than 401º F that are intended for use as a petrochemical feedstock.
    Other Products Includes aviation gasoline, aviation gasoline blending components, miscellaneous products, other hydrocarbons and oxygenates, pentanes plus, petroleum coke, and waxes.
    Oxygenates Substances which, when added to gasoline, increase the amount of oxygen in that gasoline blend. Ethanol, Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE), Ethyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (ETBE), and methanol are common oxygenates.
  • Fuel Ethanol: Blends of up to 10 percent by volume anhydrous ethanol (200 proof) (commonly referred to as the "gasohol waiver").
  • Methanol: Blends of methanol and gasoline-grade tertiary butyl alcohol (GTBA) such that the total oxygen content does not exceed 3.5 percent by weight and the ratio of methanol to GTBA is less than or equal to 1. It is also specified that this blended fuel must meet ASTM volatility specifications (commonly referred to as the "ARCO" waiver).
    Blends of up to 5.0 percent by volume methanol with a minimum of 2.5 percent by volume cosolvent alcohols having a carbon number of 4 or less (i.e., ethanol, propanol, butanol, and/or GTBA). The total oxygen must not exceed 3.7 percent by weight, and the blend must meet ASTM volatility specifications as well as phase separation and alcohol purity specifications (commonly referred to as the "DuPont" waiver).
  • MTBE (Methyl tertiary butyl ether): Blends up to 15.0 percent by volume MTBE which must meet the ASTM D4814 specifications. Blenders must take precautions that the blends are not used as base gasolines for other oxygenated blends (commonly referred to as the "Sun" waiver).
  • Pentanes Plus A mixture of hydrocarbons, mostly pentanes and heavier, extracted from natural gas. Includes isopentane, natural gasoline, and plant condensate.
    Petrochemical Feedstocks Chemical feedstocks derived from petroleum principally for the manufacture of chemicals, synthetic rubber, and a variety of plastics. The categories reported are "Naphtha Less Than 401º F" and "Other Oils Equal To or Greater Than 401º F."
    Petroleum Administration for Defense (PAD) Districts Geographic aggregations of the 50 States and the District of Columbia into five districts by the Petroleum Administration for Defense in 1950. These districts were originally defined during World War II for purposes of administering oil allocation. Description and maps of PAD Districts and Refining Districts.
    Petroleum Products Petroleum products are obtained from the processing of crude oil (including lease condensate), natural gas, and other hydrocarbon compounds. Petroleum products include unfinished oils, liquefied petroleum gases, pentanes plus, aviation gasoline, motor gasoline, naphtha-type jet fuel, kerosene-type jet fuel, kerosene, distillate fuel oil, residual fuel oil, petrochemical feedstocks, special naphthas, lubricants, waxes, petroleum coke, asphalt, road oil, still gas, and miscellaneous products.
    RBOB for Blending with Alcohol Motor gasoline blending components intended to be blended with an alcohol component (e.g. fuel ethanol) at a terminal or refinery to raise the oxygen content.
    RBOB for Blending with Ether Motor gasoline blending components intended to be blended with an ether component (e.g. methyl tertiary butyl ether) at a terminal or refinery to raise the oxygen content.
    Reformulated Blendstock for Oxgenate Blending (RBOB) Motor gasoline blending components intended for blending with oxygenates to produce finished reformulated motor gasoline.
    Reformulated Gasoline (RFG) Finished motor gasoline formulated for use in motor vehicles, the composition and properties of which meet the requirements of the reformulated gasoline regulations promulgated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under Section 211(k) of the Clean Air Act. This category includes oxygenated fuels program reformulated gasoline (OPRG) but excludes reformulated gasoline blendstock for oxygenate blending (RBOB).
    Renewable Fuels (Other) Fuels and fuel blending components, except biomass-based diesel fuel, renewable diesel fuel, and fuel ethanol, produced from renewable biomass.
    Residual Fuel Oil A general classification for the heavier oils, known as No. 5 and No. 6 fuel oils, that remain after the distillate fuel oils and lighter hydrocarbons are distilled away in refinery operations. It conforms to ASTM Specifications D396 and D975 and Federal Specification VV-F-815C. No. 5, a residual fuel oil of medium viscosity, is also known as Navy Special and is defined in Military Specification MIL-F-859E, including Amendment 2 (NATO Symbol F-770). It is used in steam-powered vessels in government service and inshore powerplants. No. 6 fuel oil includes Bunker C fuel oil and is used for the production of electric power, space heating, vessel bunkering, and various industrial purposes.
    Road Oil Any heavy petroleum oil, including residual asphaltic oil used as a dust pallative and surface treatment on roads and highways. It is generally produced in six grades from 0, the most liquid, to 5, the most viscous.
    Special Naphthas Oils with a boiling range equal to or greater than 401º F that are intended for use as a petrochemical feedstock.
    Sulfur A yellowish nonmetallic element, sometimes known as "brimstone." It is present at various levels of concentration in many fossil fuels.
    Wax A solid or semi-solid material at 77 degrees Fahrenheit consisting of a mixture of hydrocarbons obtained or derived from petroleum fractions, or through a Fischer-Tropsch type process, in which the straight-chained paraffin series predominates. This includes all marketable wax, whether crude or refined, with a congealing point (ASTM D 938) between 80 (or 85) and 240 degrees Fahrenheit and a maximum oil content (ASTM D 3235) of 50 weight percent.

    For definitions of related energy terms, refer to the EIA Energy Glossary.

      Sources

    Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-814, "Monthly Imports Report".
  • EIA Forms & Instructions .
  • Background, Survey Methodology and Statistical Details .

  •   Explanatory Notes

  • Countries listed under OPEC and non-OPEC are based on current affiliations. OPEC and non-OPEC averages are based on affiliations for the stated period of time which may differ from current affiliations. Angola joined OPEC in January 2007, Ecuador withdrew from OPEC in January 1993 and rejoined in November 2007, and Gabon withdrew from OPEC in July 1996.
  • Crude oil and petroleum products are reported by the PAD District of entry.
  • Crude oil includes imports for storage in the Stategic Petroleum Reserve.
  • The Persian Gulf includes Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates.
  • Totals may not equal sum of components due to independent rounding.