12 Interesting Statistics on Fuel Everyone Should Know

The use of fuel concerns everyone. This is particularly true considering fossil fuel since it’s a resource that cannot be replaced. People are also concerned about the environmental effects of burning various types of fuel, especially petroleum-based products. The United States consumes large amounts of energy in various ways, and it is important to understand more about fuel consumption and usage.

  1. In 2018, approximately 391.40 million gallons of gasoline were used each day. (Source: US Energy Information Administration)

This statistic is for U.S. fuel consumption only. It means that the United States uses about 1.2 gallons of gasoline per day for every man, woman, and child living in the country, based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s population estimate of 327,167,434 as of July 2018.

Light-duty vehicles – cars, small trucks, and sports utility vehicles – account for approximately 92% of all gasoline usage in the United States.

  1. To fly from New York JFK to Los Angeles, it would take the average airplane 5,325 gallons of jet fuel costing roughly $10,252. (Source: The Points Guy)

It takes a lot of fuel to fly any kind of airplane any distance, and that can get expensive. The cost of fuel fluctuates greatly depending on world events and the price per barrel of the crude product. This can affect the cost of tickets for the passengers and may also affect the profit margin for the airlines.

It can take as long as four months for a rise in the price of fuel to be reflected in the price of airline tickets. It takes even longer, about six months, for a drop in fuel prices to be reflected in the cost of a ticket.

Airlines are not allowed to add a surcharge for fuel on domestic flights, but they can add a fuel surcharge to the price of international tickets when fuel prices go up.

  1. In 2010, 6,267 million liters of gasoline were used for general aviation compared to 6,220 million liters in 2016. (Source: Bureau of Transportation)

This figure represents a combination of both aviation gasoline and jet fuel. While the usage of jet fuel increased slightly during the period, from 5,431 million liters to 5,440 million liters, the use of aviation gasoline decreased by 56 million liters. This resulted in an overall decrease of 47 million liters in the use of general aviation fuel.


  1. The amount of fossil fuel consumed in the United States in 2018 was 81.2 quadrillion British thermal units. (Source: Statista)

A British thermal unit (BTU) provides a measure of the amount of heat contained by an energy source. It is defined as the amount of heat needed to increase the temperature of one pound of liquid water by one degree Fahrenheit when it’s at the temperature where water has the greatest density, which is about 39 degrees Fahrenheit. One BTU is about the same amount of energy as that produced by a single burning match.

The BTU is used to measure energy because it can provide a comparison across different fuel types, and this allows for an accurate comparison of the use of gasoline, natural gas, and coal or other energy sources. The different fuel sources can also be combined using BTUs to provide a comprehensible view of fuel usage. This is much better than trying to figure out how to combine the number of barrels of gasoline, the number of tons of coal, and the number of cubic feet of natural gas.

The U.S. used 81.2 quadrillion BTUs of fossil fuels in 2018, and this number represents the total of all types of fossil fuels used for all purposes.

  1. Diesel fuel uses the largest amount of energy, on average 0.45 quadrillion British Thermal Units (BTU) a year. (Source: National Resources Conservation Service)

The biggest user of energy resources is diesel fuel, accounting for about 0.45 quadrillion BTUs each year. Diesel is used to run vehicles, such as trucks, tractors, and other farm equipment. It is also used to heat oil and warm homes and other buildings by being burned in heating oil burners.

  1. Each gasoline barrel contains 42 gallons. (Source: US Energy Information Administration)

Including both raw and processed products, petroleum products are frequently measured in barrels, rather than gallons. Figuring 42 gallons per barrel, the U.S. gasoline consumption rate equals 9.32 million barrels per day.

  1. In 2018, the amount of electricity generated by natural gas was 1,468 terawatt-hours. (Source: Statista)

Natural gas is used directly as an energy source in homes and businesses, providing a means of heating and cooking in homes equipped to do so. It is also used to create electricity, creating heat to make the steam that operates turbines that produce electricity.

The 1,468 terawatt-hours of electricity produced by burning natural gas in 2018 represent a large amount of gas that was burned, both depleting the irreplaceable supply and polluting the environment from the byproducts of burning.

  1. A Boeing 747 uses 1 gallon of fuel every second which is around 5 gallons of fuel every mile. (Source: How Stuff Works)

Upon first viewing this statistic, it seems that a Boeing 747 gets very poor mileage. It needs about 15,000 gallons of fuel to fly across the United States, figuring the trip at 3,000 miles. On the other hand, a car with average fuel consumption of about 25 miles per gallon for highway driving only needs about 120 gallons of gasoline to make the same trip. So, one mile in the 747 uses five gallons of fuel, and one mile in the car uses 0.04 gallons of fuel.

On the surface, the 747 seems quite wasteful. The difference here is the number of passengers each can carry. A car might carry four passengers from one side of the U.S. to the other. A 747 can carry 568 passengers when it’s fully loaded. Figuring that the average 747 flight is less than fully loaded, maybe 500 passengers, the jet is moving all of those people 1 mile using only five gallons of fuel.

That makes the mileage .01 gallons per person per mile or 100 miles per gallon per passenger. That’s going to beat the car every time, even if the car is carrying four people.


  1. To produce an acre of corn, it requires around 26.2 gallons of fuel. (Source: National Resources Conservation Service)

It requires a great deal of fuel to produce different crops in the United States. The amount of fuel needed varies by the type of crop and where it is produced, but in general, an acre of corn takes about 26.2 gallons of fuel from planting through harvest.

Some crops, such as potatoes, produce, and grapes, require more fuel while crops such as soybeans and oats require less.

  1. It takes the equivalent of 10 fossil fuel calories to generate 1 food calorie in the average American diet. (Source: Center for Ecoliteracy)

Current farming and distribution methods in the United States are not necessarily efficient. It takes about 10 fuel calorie equivalents to create a single food calorie. This means that every American who eats 2,000 calories per day causes about 20,000 fossil fuel equivalent calories per day to be burned.

This translates to be the same as about 34,000-kilowatt hours of energy. At the same time, the average home in the United States uses about 10,800 kWh of electricity. This means that Americans use about triple the amount of energy to get their food as they do to run their homes, and in some cases, they use even more.

  1. In 2016, combination trucks accounted for 111,876 million liters of gasoline. (Source: Bureau of Transportation)

Combination trucks represent a major part of the transportation of goods within the United States. They may move goods from the manufacturer to the seller, they may move goods from the manufacturer to a storage depot, or they may move raw materials from where they are created or processed to the manufacturer. While these are not the only uses for combination trucks, these are some of the most common.

  1. In a given year, American air carriers consume 17 billion gallons of jet fuel. (Source: The Points Guy)

Airline travel is big business in the United States, with many different carriers flying millions of miles over a year. This takes a lot of fuel. In an average year, the various airlines in the U.S. use about 17 billion gallons of jet fuel.

Although jets are continually being made more efficient, this is offset by increased miles being flown. The result is that the amount of fuel used remains about the same from one year to the next.


To sum it all up, although everybody talks a lot about fuel consumption and the use of fossil fuels, people often have only a limited notion of what’s involved and where it all goes. Fuel conservation for many people means simply driving less or driving a more efficient car.

A review of the 12 facts included in this discussion shows that there’s more to fuel use than meets the eye. Yes, it’s about cars and driving, but so much more is involved. Some of these things occur at a relatively hidden level. Change requires more than simply leaving the family car in the garage more.

One of the places where fuel is burned at an alarming rate is in the pursuit of food production. Changing this will require changes to the way food in the United States is grown and harvested.

Another often-overlooked use of fossil fuels is the production of electricity. It requires the use of a lot of coal or natural gas to run the turbines that generate the electric power used in the U.S. As electricity is produced more and more be renewable power sources, such as wind, the amount of fossil fuels being burned will decrease.

Finally, sometimes energy sources that seem to be inefficient, such as jet fuel, should be viewed differently. Instead of considering the cost of running a jet, or the amount of fuel required for air travel, it would be more accurate to look at the cost in terms of passenger miles. Doing so shows how jets can actually be very efficient modes of transportation when compared with cars.

The more people are educated about the use of fuels, the better they can become at making intelligent decisions regarding how they live their lives because the use of fossil fuels affects everybody.

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