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Oil - Domestic Consumption

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In 2003 most petroleum was used for transportation (66%), followed by industrial use (25%), residential use (4%), electric utilities (3%), and commercial use (2%). (See Figure 2.8.)

Most petroleum used in the transportation sector is for motor gasoline. In the residential and commercial sectors, distillate fuel oil (refined fuels used for space heaters, diesel engines, and electric power generation) accounts for most petroleum use. Liquid petroleum gas (LPG) is the primary oil used in the industrial sector. In electric utilities residual fuel oils are used the most.

A modest decline in residual fuel oil consumption has been caused by the conversion of electric utilities and plants from heavy oil to coal or natural gas energy. An initial decline in the amount of motor gasoline used, beginning in 1978, was attributed to the federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulations, which required increased miles-per-gallon efficiency in new automobiles. However, motor gasoline use has increased steadily since then, partly from an increase in users and partly from a leveling off in vehicle efficiency as consumers once again prefer less efficient vehicles, such as larger automobiles and sport utility vehicles (SUVs).

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