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Oil and petroleum products explained 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 are also used as petroleum products, mainly in mixtures with gasoline and diesel fuel.

Petroleum has historically been the largest major energy source for total annual U.S. energy consumption. 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 2021, U.S. petroleum consumption averaged about 19.78 million barrels per day (b/d), which included about a million b/d of biofuels. U.S. total petroleum consumption was about 8% higher in 2021 than the level in 2020 largely because the U.S. economy recovered from the effects of responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumption of most petroleum products in 2021 was higher than in 2020.

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

  • The percentage share of total U.S. petroleum consumption by major end-use sectors in 2021 was:1
  • Transportation 67.2%
  • Industrial 26.9%
  • Residential 2.8%
  • Commercial 2.5%
  • Electric power 0.5%
U.S. petroleum products consumption by source and sector, 2021.

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What are the petroleum products people consume most?

Gasoline is the most consumed petroleum product in the United States. In 2021, consumption of finished motor gasoline averaged about 8.8 million b/d (369 million gallons per day), which was equal to about 44% 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 2021 averaged about 3.94 million b/d (669 million gallons per day), equal to 29% of total U.S. petroleum consumption.

Hydrocarbon gas liquids (HGLs), the third most-used category of petroleum in the United States, include propane, ethane, butane, and other HGLs that are produced at natural gas processing plants and oil refineries. HGLs have many uses. Total consumption of HGLs in 2021 averaged about 3.41 million b/d, accounting for about 17% of total petroleum consumption.

Jet fuel is the fourth most-used petroleum product in the United States. Jet fuel consumption averaged about 1.37 million b/d (58 million gallons per day) in 2021, accounting for about 7% of total petroleum consumption.

Major types and amounts of U.S. petroleum products consumed in 2021
Product Annual consumption (million barrels per day)
Finished motor gasoline1 8.795
Distillate fuel oil (diesel fuel and heating oil)1 3.943
Hydrocarbon gas liquids (HGLs) 3.410
Kerosene-type jet fuel 1.371
Still gas 0.642
Asphalt and road oil 0.370
Residual fuel oil 0.313
Petrochemical feedstocks 0.289
Petroleum coke 0.269
Lubricants 0.104
Other petroleum products2 0.211
Special napthas 0.042
Aviation gasoline 0.012
Waxes 0.006
Kerosene 0.005
Total petroleum products 19.728

1 Includes biofuels in gasoline and in distillate fuels.
2 Includes other liquids not included in the table.
Data source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Petroleum and Other Liquids—Product Supplied, as of May 2022
Note: Sum of individual products may not equal total because of independent rounding.

How much petroleum does the world consume?

Total world consumption of petroleum in 2019 was about 100.37 million b/d.

  • The five largest petroleum-consuming countries, and their percentage shares of total world petroleum consumption in 2019, were:
  • United States20.5%
  • China14.0%
  • India4.9%
  • Japan3.7%
  • Russia3.7%

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

In the Annual Energy Outlook 2022 Reference case, the U.S. Energy Information Administration projects U.S. total consumption of petroleum and other liquids to increase in most years through 2050. Total consumption levels of petroleum and other liquids are projected to be about 14% greater in 2050 than in 2021. Liquid fuels will account for about 36% to 38% of total annual U.S. energy consumption through 2050.

Also in the Reference case, liquid fuels continue as the main energy source for the transportation sector, but the percentage share falls slightly from 96% in 2021 to 92% in 2050. The volume of total transportation sector liquid fuels consumption is projected to be about the same in 2050 as in 2021.

1 U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Energy Review, May 2022, preliminary data for 2021. Unless otherwise indicated, petroleum consumption includes biofuels.

Last updated: July 1, 2022 with most recent data available at the time of update.