Petroleum accounted for 36% of total energy consumption in 2018 and was the largest primary source of energy consumed in the United States, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). More than two-thirds of finished petroleum products consumed in the United States are used in the transportation sector.
Petroleum consists of crude oil and refined products such as gasoline, diesel and propane. Crude oil is processed at petroleum refineries to make products, including motor gasoline, distillate, fuel oil, hydrocarbon gas liquids and jet fuel.
End-use consumption is difficult to calculate because of the large number of refined products and stores that sell them, such as gas stations. The EIA uses petroleum product supplied to determine consumption. This is calculated by adding field production, refinery and blender net production and imports and subtracting stock change, refinery and blender net inputs and exports. Petroleum product supplied has risen for six consecutive years and was about 20 million barrels per day in 2018.
U.S. exports of crude oil rose by about 800,000 barrels per day to 2 million barrels per day in 2018, from 2017. U.S. crude oil exports have risen since 2016 after Congress removed restrictions on exporting crude oil. U.S. exports of petroleum products rose by 300,000 barrels per day to a record high of 5.6 million barrels per day in 2018, from 2017.
U.S. imports of crude oil fell 3% to about 8 million barrels per day in 2018, from 2017. Net imports of crude oil and petroleum products fell to about 2 million barrels per day, the lowest level since 1967. The United States imports crude oil because of geographic and quality factors, according to the EIA.
In 2018, total field production, which includes crude oil, lease condensate and natural gas liquids, rose to a record of more than 15 million barrels per day. U.S. crude oil production rose 17% to a record high of nearly 11 million barrels per day in 2018, from 2017. Production of natural gas liquids increased 15% to a record high of more than 4 million barrels per day in 2018, from 2017. The rise in production from tight oil and shale formations led to the record highs.