In a recent post I noted that the decline in US oil use had been a big player in the recent fall in US carbon emissions. 

In fact America is using two million barrels a day less oil than it did in 2005.  As some commenters noted in the last post we can get a better understanding of the decline by splitting it into fuel types.  

Here's the data, in a live format format no less:

US oil consumption declined by 2.2 million barrels per day between 2005 and 2012.  Although not as large as the drop during the second oil crisis the 11% fall in consumption is dramatic.

We can break the consumption out into different fuel types, in this case a group of industrial petroleum products are brough together.


This chart is useful in that it gives us an idea of how America uses oil. We see that gasoline is the big source of demand, while industrial uses and distillate other the other major ones.

Furthermore we can see the obvious dip in the use gasoline, distilate and industrial oil use that occured in 2008 and 2009.  A period in which the economy was sharply contracting and oil prices had just shot up.

Finally, if we break out the declines in oil consumption we can see where those two million barrels per day went:


Here we see the drop in petroleum use was widespread, with industrial uses and fuel oil consumption falling considerably, but gasoline, distilate and jet fuel also down a lot.

So that's what the data say, anyone who knows their oil care to explain the drivers?  

As I did in the previous post I would posit that oil prices have been significant driver of the decline in petroleum use.  That said the contribution of the recession and efficiency should not be overlooked.