Weekly Gasoline Purchases

A popular Facebook post makes claims about gasoline purchases that aren’t correct, or even close.

A Facebook post claims: “…according to the department of Energy, Americans purchase 40 gallons of gas a week minimum.” This isn’t even close to the real amount of gasoline purchased.

The United States Energy Department does have data about gasoline consumption. (1)See U.S. Weekly Product Supplied at https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/pet_cons_wpsup_k_4.htm. The following chart illustrates. (2)EIA: “Approximately represents consumption of petroleum products because it measures the disappearance of these products from primary sources.”

From this data, the average consumption since 2010 is 8,973 thousand barrels per day. At 42 gallons per barrel, this is 376,866,000 gallons per day. (3)A different method of deriving produces a similar value. See https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/pet_cons_prim_dcu_nus_a.htm.

Now that we have a numerator, we need a denominator to divide by, but the Facebook post doesn’t mention what it means by “Americans.” We might use the population of the United States, which is 332,751,565, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Or, we might use the number of working Americans, which is 158,426,000 in May 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Either way, we get consumption of 1.13 or 2.38 gallons per day, which is 7.9 or 16.7 gallons per week.

Either is far below the “40 gallons of gas a week minimum” claimed in the Facebook post.

References

References
1See U.S. Weekly Product Supplied at https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/pet_cons_wpsup_k_4.htm.
2EIA: “Approximately represents consumption of petroleum products because it measures the disappearance of these products from primary sources.”
3A different method of deriving produces a similar value. See https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/pet_cons_prim_dcu_nus_a.htm.

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