Americans Hit New Mind-Numbing Peak For Gasoline Consumption

Americans prefer trucks, crossovers and SUVs, sales of passenger vehicles in 2016 hit a high of 17.5 million, and with that, the federal government says gasoline consumption hit an all time high last year too.

According to the Energy Information Agency, motor gasoline consumption increased by 1.6 percent over 2015 to 9.327 million barrels per day, and in the process it broke EIA projections and topped a peak of 9.286 million barrels Americans consumed daily in 2007.

So, if consuming more gas is considered undesirable, and consuming less is the goal, one might reasonably say that last year America as a whole regressed back to worse than 2007.

But how much is 9.237 billion barrels of gasoline really? After all, big numbers are kind of meaningless to those who don’t normally contemplate them, unless some perspective is given right?

Well, stats on the energy value of a million gallons of gasoline were not readily found, but the EIA says for each 42 gallon barrel of oil, 19 gallons of motor gasoline is extracted along with 12 gallons of ultra-low sulfur distillate fuel oil (diesel and heating oil).

Source: EIA.

So, looking just at crude oil, for which an energy value comparison has been drawn, one million barrels is enough to power a single American home for 61,117 years. Or, put another way, it’s enough to drive a Toyota Prius 2.32 billion miles, or it’s enough to power the entire world for six minutes.

Now, multiply those numbers by 9.327 to get what they are per day. Then, multiply them by 365 to get what it is per year. After you’re done that, consider each barrel only delivers 19 gallons of gas, which means Americans are burning more than double this each day in the form of refined gasoline.

Nine out of 10 doctors have said it’s statistics like these that are enough to boggle your foggle. (Just kidding – but only partly.)

Meanwhile, the Trump administration is considering reductions to U.S. MPG regulations that have been in place to slowly spur a switch toward more efficient vehicle choices.

To date, plug-in hybrid and battery electric cars are minority products that make up just around 1 percent of U.S. passenger car purchases.

On the positive side, things are changing, and global regulations are pushing for more fuel-thrifty transportation.

The goal is still to reduce petroleum consumption. It really is, even if last year U.S. engines drank more gasoline than in any other time in history.

Hat tip: Mario R. Duran


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