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.

Did you know?

In 2014, nearly three-fourths of total U.S. petroleum consumption was in the transportation sector.

The United States consumes more energy from petroleum than from any other energy source. In 2014, total U.S. petroleum consumption was about 19 million barrels per day (b/d), or 35% of all the energy consumed in the United States.

When petroleum products are burned to produce energy, they may be used to propel a vehicle, to heat a building, or to produce electric power in a generator.

Petroleum may also be used as a raw material (a feedstock) in the petrochemical industry to create products such as plastics, polyurethane, solvents, and hundreds of other intermediate and end-user goods.

What are the main petroleum products people consume?

Gasoline is the main petroleum product consumed in the United States. In 2007, gasoline consumption reached a record high of 9.3 million b/d (391 million gallons per day). In 2014, motor gasoline consumption averaged 8.9 million b/d (375 million gallons per day), or about 47% of total U.S. petroleum consumption.

Petroleum products consumed in 2014
Product Annual consumption (million barrels per day)
Finished motor gasoline1 8.921
Distillate fuel oil (diesel fuel and heating oil)1 4.037
Hydrocarbon gas liquids (HGL) 2.448
Kerosene-type jet fuel 1.470
Still gas 0.693
Petroleum coke 0.347
Petrochemical feedstocks 0.347
Asphalt and road oil 0.327
Residual fuel oil 0.257
Lubricants 0.126
Special napthas 0.055
Miscellaneous products and others2 0.050
Finished aviation gasoline 0.012
Kerosene 0.009
Waxes 0.007
Total petroleum products 19.106

1Includes fuel ethanol in gasoline and biodiesel in distillate fuels.
2Other includes other liquids not included in the table.
Note: Data may not add to total due to independent rounding.
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Petroleum Supply Annual (September 2015)

The next most consumed petroleum product is distillate fuel oil, which 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 to heat homes and buildings, for industrial heating, and for producing electricity. Total distillate fuel oil consumption in 2014 was more than 4 million b/d, or 21% of total petroleum consumption.

Hydrocarbon gas liquids (HGL), the third most-used category of petroleum, include propane, ethane, butane, and other hydrocarbon gas liquids that are produced at natural gas processing plants and oil refineries. HGL consumption in 2014 was about 2.4 million b/d. The petrochemical industry uses HGL as a 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. Nearly 1.5 million b/d of jet fuel were consumed in 2014.

Top five gasoline consuming states, 2014

State Million barrels/day Million gallons/day Share of total U.S. consumption
California 0.89 37.55 11%
Texas 0.86 36.26 10%
Florida 0.47 19.94 6%
New York 0.34 14.36 4%
Ohio 0.30 12.63 4%

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Petroleum and Other Liquids—Prime Supplier Sales Volumes, preliminary 2014 data

How much petroleum does the world consume?

Worldwide consumption of petroleum was 91.2 million b/d in 2013.

The three largest petroleum-consuming countries in 2013, and their share of total world petroleum consumption:

  • United States (21%)
  • China (11%)
  • Japan (5%)
line graph showing liquid fuels consumption by sector, 1980-2040 in million barrels per day

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Outlook 2015, Figure 18 (April 2015)