Saturday, September 11, 2010

Transport Fuel Rationing in the USA: Part 2 Estimating Gasoline and Diesel use in the USA today

My key source of information is the Energy Information Agency’s (EIA) recent publication of the Annual Energy Review for 2009 (AER 2009:, a massive 447 page document covering all manner of energy production and consumption in the USA.

I consider gasoline and diesel consumption separately below:

Gasoline consumption in the USA

The AER 2009 provides the following information:

Total USA Crude Oil Production 2009 (Table 5.1): 7.2 million barrels of oil per day (MB oil/d)

Total USA crude oil imports 2009 (Table 5.4): 11.7 MB oil/d

The sum of these two numbers (18.9 MB oil/d) is in pretty good agreement with the EIA’s report that the USA’s total crude and petroleum product consumption in 2009 was 18.8 MB oil/d (

We can use this number, plus knowing about what a barrel of crude oil makes (,  to estimate the total number of Gallons of gas available per day:

18.9 MB oil/d x 19.5 G gas / 1 B of oil = 368 million gallons gas per d (MG gas/d)

Again, this in pretty good agreement with one EIA report that the USA’s total gasoline consumption in 2009 was 8.997 MB gas/d (377 MG gas/d) (,  and, the AER 2009 report (Table 5.13c) that motor gasoline consumption in 2009 was 8.8 MB gas/d (370 MG gas/d).

Diesel consumption in the USA

Diesel is refined from crude oil ( as distillate fuel oil (“dfo”) which can be used for diesel fuel, heating oil and other things. I use the term “dfo” instead of diesel to acknowledge that this fraction of a barrel of oil has multiple uses besides fueling on-road automobile transportation:

Distillate Fuel Oil: A general classification for one of the petroleum fractions produced in conventional distillation operations. It includes diesel fuels and fuel oils. Products known as No. 1, No. 2, and No. 4 diesel fuel are used in on-highway diesel engines, such as those found in cars and trucks, as well as off-highway engines, such as those in railroad locomotives and agricultural machinery. Products known as No. 1, No. 2, and No. 4 fuel oils are used primarily for space heating and electricity generation. (AER 2009, page, 392)
In fact on-road diesel, off-road diesel (for farm vehicles and heating oil are chemically interchangeable. It only government proclamation and some red dye that distinguishes them:

Back to the AER 2009 (Table 5.11), which estimated that the total daily dfo supply rate is 3.63 MB dfo/d or 152 MG dfo/d, which I will take as being equal to the daily consumption rate of dfo.

So there we have the state of “happy motoring” in the USA today:

368 million MG gas/d and 152 MG dfo/d.

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