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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 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 2019, U.S. petroleum consumption averaged about 20.64 million barrels per day (b/d), which included about 1.1 million b/d of biofuels.

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

  • U.S. petroleum consumption by sector and share of total in 2019
  • transportation 14.06 million barrels per day 69%
  • industrial 5.25 million barrels per day 26%
  • residential 0.60 million barrels per day 3%
  • commercial 0.47 million barrels per day 2%
  • electric power 0.09 million barrels per day < 1%

What are the petroleum products people consume most?

Gasoline is the most consumed petroleum product in the United States. In 2019, consumption of finished motor gasoline averaged about 9.27 million b/d (390 million gallons per day), which was equal to about 45% 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 2019 averaged about 4.08 million b/d (171 million gallons per day), which was equal to 20% 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. Hydrocarbon gas liquids have many uses. Total consumption of HGLs in 2019 averaged about 3.13 million b/d.

Jet fuel is the fourth most-used petroleum product in the United States. Jet fuel consumption averaged about 1.74 million b/d (73 million gallons per day) in 2019.

Petroleum products consumed in 2019
Product Annual consumption (million barrels per day)
Finished motor gasoline1 9.274
Distillate fuel oil (diesel fuel and heating oil)1 4.082
Hydrocarbon gas liquids (HGLs) 3.130
Kerosene-type jet fuel 1.740
Still gas 0.669
Asphalt and road oil 0.350
Petrochemical feedstocks 0.317
Petroleum coke 0.310
Residual fuel oil 0.273
Miscellaneous products and other liquids2 0.135
Lubricants 0.111
Special napthas 0.049
Aviation gasoline 0.013
Kerosene 0.007
Waxes 0.005
Total petroleum products 20.464

1 Includes fuel ethanol in gasoline and biodiesel in distillate fuels.
2 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 July 22, 2020

How much petroleum does the world consume?

Total world consumption of petroleum in 2017 was about 98.8 million b/d.

  • The five largest petroleum-consuming countries in 2017 and their shares of total world petroleum consumption
  • United States20.2%
  • China13.7%
  • India4.4%
  • Japan4.0%
  • Russia3.7%

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

The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects in the Annual Energy Outlook 2020 Reference case that liquid fuels (petroleum and other liquids) will make up about 35% of total U.S. energy consumption in 2050, compared with 37% in 2019. Also in the Reference case, liquid fuels continue as the main energy source for the transportation sector. However, liquid fuels’ share of total transportation energy use changes from 97% in 2019 to 91%% in 2050, and the volume of total liquid fuels consumption in the transportation sector is projected to be about 11% lower in 2050 than the volume in 2019.

Last updated: July 24, 2020