Historical US Oil Consumption Patterns

After the two oil price shocks and supply disruptions in 1973-74 and 1979, oil consumption in the U.S. decreased 13 percent, declining from nearly 35 quads in 1973 to 30 quads in 1983. However, overall consumption continued to grow after the 1983 low and has continuously increased over the last 20 years, reaching over 39 quads in 2003, as shown in Figure III-1. Of particular note are changes in three U.S. market sectors: 1) Oil consumption in the residential sector declined from eight percent of total oil consumption in 1973 to four percent in 2003, a decrease of 50 percent; 2) Oil consumption in the commercial sector declined from five percent to two percent, decreasing 58 percent; and 3) Consumption in the electric power sector fell from 10 percent in 1973 to three percent in 2003, decreasing 70 percent. These three market sectors currently account for 1.3 quads of oil consumption annually, representing nine percent of U.S. oil demand in 2003.

Oil consumption in other market sectors did not decrease. A 140 percent growth in GDP over the 1973-2003 period made it difficult to decrease oil consumption in the industrial and transportation sectors.23 In particular, personal transportation grew significantly over the past three decades, and total vehicle miles traveled for cars and light trucks more than doubled over the period.24 From 1973 to 2003, consumption of oil in the industrial sector stayed relatively flat at just over nine quads, and the industrial sector's share of total U.S. consumption remained between 24 and 26 percent. In sharp contrast to all other sectors, U.S. oil consumption for transportation purposes has increased steadily every year, rising from just over 17 quads in 1973 to 26 quads in 2003. By 2003, the transportation sector accounted for two-thirds of the oil consumed in the U.S.

U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, National Income and Product Accounts, 2004.

24U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Highway Statistics, 2004.

World Oil Use Sector Transport
Figure III-1. U.S. Petroleum Consumption by Sector, 1973-200325

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Renewable Energy 101

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable. The usage of renewable energy sources is very important when considering the sustainability of the existing energy usage of the world. While there is currently an abundance of non-renewable energy sources, such as nuclear fuels, these energy sources are depleting. In addition to being a non-renewable supply, the non-renewable energy sources release emissions into the air, which has an adverse effect on the environment.

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  • Hunter
    How is the global oil consumed by sectors?
    9 years ago

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