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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, mostly in mixtures with gasoline and diesel fuel.

Petroleum has historically been the most-consumed energy source in terms of 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 2022, U.S. total petroleum consumption averaged about 20.28 million barrels per day (b/d), which included about 1.17 million b/d of biofuels (1.002 b/d of fuel ethanol and 0.164 b/d of biodiesel, renewable diesel, and other biofuels combined).1 U.S. total petroleum consumption was about 2% higher in 2022 than in 2021 and about 12% higher than in 2020, largely because the U.S. economy was returning to pre-COVID-19 pandemic activity levels. Consumption of nearly all petroleum products in 2022 was higher than in 2021.

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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 2022 was:
  • transportation 66.6%
  • industrial 27.5%
  • residential 2.8%
  • commercial 2.5%
  • electric power 0.6%
Data source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Energy Review, July 2023, preliminary data

U.S. petroleum products consumption by source and sector, 2022.

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What petroleum products do people consume most?

Gasoline is the most-consumed petroleum product in the United States. In 2022, consumption of finished motor gasoline averaged about 8.78 million b/d (369 million gallons per day), which was about 43% of total U.S. petroleum consumption. Finished motor gasoline includes fuel ethanol.

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 diesel engines, which are often in heavy construction equipment, trucks, buses, tractors, boats, trains, some automobiles, and electricity generators. Heating oil, also called fuel oil, is used for heating homes and buildings in boilers and furnaces, for industrial heating, and for producing electricity in power plants. In 2022, total distillate fuel oil consumption averaged about 3.96 million b/d (166 million gallons per day), which was 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. HGLs have many uses. Total consumption of HGLs in 2022 averaged about 3.59 million b/d, accounting for about 18% of total petroleum consumption.

Jet fuel is the fourth-most-used petroleum product in the United States. Jet fuel consumption averaged about 1.56 million b/d (65 million gallons per day) in 2022, accounting for about 8% of total petroleum consumption.

Major types and amounts of U.S. petroleum products consumed, 2022
Product Annual consumption (million barrels per day)
Finished motor gasoline 8.777
Distillate fuel oil (diesel fuel and heating oil) 3.962
Hydrocarbon gas liquids (HGLs) 3.588
Kerosene-type jet fuel 1.558
Still gas 0.661
Asphalt and road oil 0.373
Residual fuel oil 0.343
Petroleum coke 0.255
Petrochemical feedstocks 0.237
Biofuels 0.164
Lubricants 0.112
Unfinished oils 0.094
Miscellaneous other products 0.087
Special naphthas 0.046
Aviation gasoline 0.012
Waxes 0.006
Kerosene 0.004
Total petroleum products 20.279

Data source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Petroleum and Other Liquids—Product Supplied, as of June 2023
Note: Sum of individual products may not equal total because of independent rounding. Finished motor gasoline includes fuel ethanol. Biofuels includes biodiesel, renewable diesel, and other biofuels. Miscellaneous other products includes all finished petroleum products not classified elsewhere, including petrolatum, lube refining byproducts (aromatic extracts and tars), absorption oils, ram-jet fuel, petroleum rocket fuels, synthetic natural gas feedstocks, and specialty oils.

How much petroleum does the world consume?

In 2021, total world petroleum consumption was about 97.26 million b/d.

  • The five top petroleum-consuming countries, and their percentage shares of total world petroleum consumption in 2021, were:
  • United States20.4%
  • China15.7%
  • India4.8%
  • Russia3.8%
  • Japan3.5%
Data source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, International Energy Statistics, as of August 21, 2023

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

In the Annual Energy Outlook 2023 Reference case, the U.S. Energy Information Administration projects U.S. total consumption of petroleum and other liquids in 2050 to be nearly equal to the projection for 2023. Petroleum and other liquid fuels will decline from about 37% of total U.S. energy consumption in 2023 to about 34% of total annual U.S. energy consumption in 2050.

Also in the Reference case, liquid fuels continue as the main energy source for the transportation sector, but transportation sector liquid fuels consumption on an energy-content basis is projected to be about 10% lower in 2050 than in 2023.

1 The U.S. Energy Information Administration uses product supplied to represent petroleum consumption. Fuel ethanol consumption is accounted for as refinery and blender inputs to produce finished motor gasoline.

Last updated: August 22, 2023, with data available from source reports as indicated; data for 2022 are preliminary.