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Colin Chilcoat

Colin Chilcoat

Colin Chilcoat is a specialist in Eurasian energy affairs and political institutions currently living and working in Chicago. A complete collection of his work can…

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How Much Crude Oil Do You Consume On A Daily Basis?

How Much Crude Oil Do You Consume On A Daily Basis?

Oil. The commodity. We know what it’s worth – at least we thought we did – but what does a barrel of the black stuff get you in real life? Before we get theoretical, let’s first consider how much oil you use.

If you’re in the United States, that figure is approximately 2.5 gallons of crude oil per day; roughly one barrel every seventeen days; or nearly 22 barrels per year. That’s just your share of US total consumption of course; the true number is harder to discern – minus industrial and non-residential uses, daily consumption drops to about 1.5 gallons per person per day. Subtract the percentage of the population aged 14 and below and the daily consumption climbs back above 2 gallons. This is big picture, and it’s quite variable, so let’s go further.

Most of the nation’s daily crude consumption stems from transportation. If you’re an average driver in an average car, your crude consumption is in the order of 12 barrels per year. However, if your car is more than ten years old, chances are that figure is closer to 15 barrels annually. Does an electric car offer significant savings? Of course it does, but for an unconventional comparison let’s assume all of the electricity is sourced from oil – in truth, petroleum is not a very efficient fuel and accounts for just 1 percent of electricity generation in the US. Under this assumption, a Tesla Model S, with an 85 kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery and a range of 260 miles, will consume approximately 8 barrels of crude per year. Related: The World’s 10 Biggest Energy Gluttons

Frequent flyer? Say 2,000 miles per year on a US carrier? Add about two-thirds of a barrel of crude to your annual consumption.

A 3,000-mile cruise on the MS Oasis of the Seas may sound relaxing, but at roughly 4 barrels of crude per passenger, the carbon footprint alone is worth reviewing.

What about residential use? Using similar assumptions to the electric car example above, we can calculate our annual home electricity use in barrels of crude. In 2013, an average American home consumed 10,908 kWh of electricity, or approximately 20 barrels of crude. The real number – considering oil’s role in electricity generation – is far lower at around one-fifth of a barrel.

Petroleum products are active in nearly every facet of our daily lives; food and consumer chains are no exception. Take a look at bottled water for example. It’s an energy intensive business, one with an estimated energy expenditure of 32 million barrels of oil per year – for 33 billion liters of bottled water purchased in the US. The production of the single-use polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles alone requires the energy equivalent of almost 17 million barrels of oil.

Obtaining an accurate picture of your daily oil consumption is truthfully quite difficult. Your consumption is dependent on my consumption, which is dependent on someone’s consumption halfway around the globe to make a simple analogy. Moreover, consumption is largely bound by perception and the barrel is still a relatively abstract measure – few will ever lay hands on one. So for the sake of understanding, let’s look at what else a barrel gets you. Related: The Easy Oil Is Gone So Where Do We Look Now?

According to Chevron, one barrel of oil produces: 170 ounces of propane; 16 gallons of gasoline; one gallon of roofing tar; a quart of motor oil; 8 gallons of diesel fuel; 70 kWh of electricity; four pounds of charcoal briquettes; 27 wax crayons; and 39 polyester shirts.

For good measure, it can power a 42’’ plasma television for about a year and a half – again, it’s not very efficient. It can charge your laptop PC every day for over 7 years, or your iPhone for more than 240 years.

Finally, on the open market, a barrel of West Texas Intermediate will fetch around $50.

* 1 barrel = 42 U.S. gallons = 5,800,000 Btu
1 gallon gasoline = 124,262 Btu
1 gallon jet fuel = 128,100 Btu
1 barrel = 533 kWh (Power plant heat rate of 10,991 Btu/kWh)


Source: EIA and EIA and EIA

By Colin Chilcoat of Oilprice.com

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Leave a comment
  • jam on February 27 2015 said:
    "it's not very efficient"??? you know many other material substances that can do that with the availability of oil?
  • Jon Claerbout on February 27 2015 said:
    I took a ride on the Oasis of the Seas for a week, 2700 miles. One of the crew members told me the ship burns about 7 tons of fuel/hour which I calculated 7*5*24= 840 tons a week. Another told me they load 1000 tons of fuel every week. With 6000 guests aboard (also aboard are 2000 service staff and entertainers), it means each guest is responsible for 1/6 ton = 2000/6 lb = 333 lb, or 333/7 = 47 gallons. So our gas mileage per person is 2700 miles/47 gallons = 57 mpg.

    You are saying 4 barrels. I'm saying a little over 1 barrel. Something is not adding up.
  • Tim Bilsky on February 27 2015 said:
    Neat article. I don't think it was meant to make anyone feel guilty, jam, but you make a great point. Oil is an ubiquitous and wonderful resource, regardless of its efficiency. There are few, if any, energy sources as self-sustaining as petroleum. As long as it's there, I'm not concerned about my consumption. After all, who is the arbitor of what is "reasonable" usage? If it's a conservationist, then I want that averaged with an energy executive's opinion on the matter. :)
  • Jim Hannan on February 27 2015 said:
    Besides using public transit and not flying in airplanes, a very good way to use less fossil fuel is to eat a plant based diet. Diets high in meat, dairy and poultry use much more resources.
  • Colin Chilcoat on February 27 2015 said:
    As an electricity generator natural gas is far more efficient. Oil of course packs a lot of power.

    The figures for Oasis of the Seas' fuel consumption vary. The six Wartsilla 46 engines are estimated to consume 7,230 gallons of fuel per hour when running at full power (~26mph). For the purposes of the article, the fuel consumption was then calculated per passenger (assuming 5,400 passengers, which is double occupancy, fuel economy is = 19.4mpg/per passenger). One gallon of diesel = 139,690Btu. That gives you roughly 3.7 barrels per passenger.
  • Mike Hates Music on February 27 2015 said:
    Jon: Need to convert from 47 gallons of fuel to barrels of oil, not to barrels of fuel, no? From above, diesel is 8 gal/barrell, so 47 gal/8 gal/barrel = 5.88 barrels of oil.
  • vns990 on March 04 2015 said:
    Errr let's just say that set of figures is an average estimate at best.

    Refining what do we know about it?

    They try make as much of the saleable product they need at any given time depending on the fractions involved.

    Fractionation and other technologies have come a long way and depending on the oil type the refining methods and really how much energy expenditure they want to put back into the process to get the end result in some cases.

    As many things can be reformed and such to make more of one fraction and so on by using various processes.

    This being the big thing is it worth doing all that to say low end product so that you squeeze every last dollar and cent out of it.

    Or do you try make what you can while you can fast as you can and sell that sucker before it goes stale.

    Because don't forget once refined that clocks ticking.

    Not so bad for the base oil fractions but the higher stuff has to be moved fast just due to evaporation the formation of condensation and such (mostly fixed by temp control these days).

    It's all these things plus so much more which play a part in the whole logistics chain and shouldn't be overlooked.

    Refineries are extremely smart and can make allsorts from next to nothing just by mixing the right hydrocarbons.

    And there's one player you haven't mentioned.

    SYNGAS Yes what used to be typically flared is being seen as the true resource it is and being recovered in a lot of places.

    Just as Propane and Butane and LPG is ever popular in the commercial and private sectors.

    Refining is being the scrapper of the hydrocarbon world.

    Your trying to recycle as much product as possible.

    As for plastics.

    The most frustrating thing about PET bottles is the caps.

    They are not typically recycled and are a completely wasted resource.

    When you see how many of these things there are daily let alone at major venues.

    Tens of thousand of these things maybe consumed in one sitting alone.

    That's just one night at a concert for example.

    Now add the rest of the surrounding cities and countries take a look at our seas and water ways and see where we went wrong.

    Big time.
  • tyler on April 13 2015 said:
    how much natural energy would someone use per day?
  • Paul on May 09 2016 said:
    93,000,000 barrels of oil per day
    42 gallons per barrel
    8,000,000,000 people
    . . .
    equals ~1/2 gallon per day/person
    Americans consume 2.5 gallons per day
  • truegal on April 28 2018 said:
    Each barrel of oil has 42 gallons of fuel.

    Of these approximately 19 gallons are gasoline, and 10 gallons are diesel.
    The rest is used for aviation fuel, distillates, and losses.

    So, for instance, an average driver demanding 12,000 miles of transportation per year on an average efficiently gasoline vehicle providing 25 miles per gallon would require (12,000 / 25) 480 gallons of gasoline per year.

    This would require (480 / 19) 25.3 barrels of oil.

    If the average driver uses diesel, then this would require 48 barrels of oil.

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