free html hit counter Peak Oil Debunked: 27. WHERE DOES ALL THE OIL GO?

Thursday, August 18, 2005


The United States consumes roughly 20 million barrels per day (MMbpd) of crude oil. This is a phenomenal amount, and constitutes about 25% of the world's oil production. So where does it all go? The stats show that personal transport accounts for 45% of U.S. consumption -- about twice the consumption of trucking, aviation and shipping combined.

The breakdown for 2003 is:
Total oil consumption: 19.7 MMbpd
Transportation: 13.1 MMbpd
Autos/light trucks: 9 MMbpd
Medium/heavy trucks: 3.8 MMbpd
Jet fuel: 1.6 MMbpd
Feedstock: 3.5 MMbpd

The following description and Table give the exact figures:
C. Petroleum in the Current U.S. Economy The 39 quad consumption of oil in the U.S. in 2003 is equivalent to 19.7 million barrels of oil per day (MM bpd), including almost 13.1 MM bpd consumed by the transportation sector and 4.9 MM bpd by the industrial sector, as shown in Table III-1. This table also shows the petroleum fuel types consumed by each sector. Motor gasoline consumption accounted for 45 percent of U.S. daily petroleum consumption, nearly 9 MM bpd, almost all of which was used in autos and light trucks. Distillate fuel oil was the second-most consumed oil product at almost 3.8 MM bpd (19 percent of consumption), and most was used as diesel fuel for medium and heavy trucks. Finally, the third most consumed oil product was liquefied petroleum gases, at 2.2 MM bpd equivalent (11 percent of total consumption), most of which was used in the industrial sector as feedstock by the chemicals industry. Only two other consuming areas exceeded the 1 MM bpd level: kerosene and jet fuel in the transportation sector, primarily for airplanes, and "other petroleum" by the industrial sector, primarily petroleum feedstocks used to produce non-fuel products in the petroleum and chemical industries.

Source: U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, Detailed annual petroleum consumption accounts by fuel and sector at, 2004. Cited in the Hirsch Report (pp. 21-22)(pdf format)

Peak oil is not a threat to the stability of civilization, world trade or global food supplies (or even the transport of food supplies). It is first and foremost a problem of massive fuel waste in private automobiles. Essentially, the entire production of Saudi Arabia is being burned everyday by Americans commuting to work and driving to the mall etc. Strictly speaking, none of that fuel consumption is necessary. It is a symptom of a wasteful, environmentally destructive car culture which needs to be brought under control.


More information on this topic: 326. DETAILED BREAKDOWN OF US PETROLEUM U.S. PETROLEUM USE


At Friday, August 19, 2005 at 7:30:00 AM PDT, Blogger James said...

1) People need alternatives to using their cars for commuting. Any PO "Matthattan Project" must include widespread establishment of light-rail and rapid transit buses, among other transport solutions.

2) CAFE standards must be increased and enforced. It should be done in increments every few years or so. In 15-20 years, the average MPG for the auto fleet in this country should 40 MPG.

3)Alternative fuels need to be phased in. Market forces are already giving rise to biodiesel and ethanol-based fuels. Tax-based incentives from government could help expedite this process.

If I think of more, I'll post them here...

P.S. I was on yesterday and a sig caught my eye. It said "PO is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuels crisis." If we address the gasoline problem for our cars, we go a long way in helping to smooth out the transition from dependancy on oil.

At Monday, September 3, 2007 at 1:09:00 PM PDT, Blogger oddvark said...

"Essentially, the entire production of Saudi Arabia is being burned everyday by Americans commuting to work and driving to the mall etc. Strictly speaking, none of that fuel consumption is necessary."

Thats true, lets all quit working tomorrow and see what happens!

At Sunday, March 23, 2008 at 10:01:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Craig P. said...

People need to ditch their hummers, Esclades, and jacked up pickup trucks. Congress needs to tax gasoline users based on their fuel efficiency to discourage people from driving fuel inefficient vehicles (but that wouldn't happen! nobody would vote for that guy except for me).

At Wednesday, May 21, 2008 at 10:54:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave, I would vote for that. Some decision making concerning family size. But if the whole idea is Bigger dog syndrome, then let it be. Way to much waste and lack of team effort. Starts from the top. Oil companies want the whole share now. They have us over many barrels. Golf carts are still electric. That tech has been around since batteries. Fast Fast Fast


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