If climate change and the use of fossil fuels is starting to worry you, consider this: The lion’s share of the petroleum in the United States is being used just to get around–to get people and things from point A to point B.
Industrial, residential, commercial and electrical power usage of petroleum pales in comparison.
Fossil fuels–which include crude oil and other liquids–are refined into petroleum products for a multitude of uses, and last year, the United States consumed over 20 million barrels per day.
A whopping 69 percent of that was consumed by transportation. Industry, which the masses like to villainize most in terms of fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, used only 25 percent. Residential usage accounted for only 3 percent of our petroleum consumption, and commercial, only 2 percent.
What about electricity? American electricity generation used only 1 percent of those petroleum products.
So, for anyone looking to pinpoint where we need to start cheerleading for renewables or fossil-fuels shaming, here are the top 5 uses of petroleum products to help redirect the debate:
#5 Oceans of Plastic: Still Gas, 0.703M BPD
While primarily referring to methane and ethane, “still gas” is any form or mixture of gases produced in refineries by distillation, cracking, reforming, and other processes. That means it also includes ethylene, normal butane, butylenes, propane, propylene, and others.
It’s used most as refinery fuel or petrochemical feedstock.
The conversion factor is 6 million Btus per fuel oil equivalent barrel.
U.S. refineries burned nearly 240 million barrels of still gas in 2018.
But petrochemicals are one of the largest drivers of global oil demand, so it’s a circular competition here for still gas.
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