Top Numbers Driving America's Gasoline Demand
Posted May 26, 2022
Do you know the number of miles driven collectively every year by Americans? It’s not in the millions or even the billions. In 2021, Americans drove an estimated 3.2 trillion miles on our roads and highways.
As we face record-setting gas prices ahead of the 2022 summer driving season, it is helpful to consider just how massive America’s vast and growing demand is for the energy to make all our park visits, top-down road trips, beach excursions, family vacations and spontaneous getaways possible.
With data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the metrics below are the latest numbers to demonstrate America’s need for greater U.S. supply that provides energy security and energy reliability.
- 38.9 million fill-ups/day: U.S. gasoline demand peaked in 2018 at an annual average consumption of 9.329 million barrels per day (mmb/d). U.S. gasoline consumption declined during the pandemic (annual average of 8.049 mmb/d in 2020). It’s now expected to increase to be around 8.9 mmb/d – or 373.8 million gallons per day – in both 2022 and 2023. Based on 9.5 gallons per refueling stop, that works out to 38.9 million fill-ups in the U.S. per day.
- 489 gallons/year per registered vehicle: On average, there are 275.9 million registered vehicles in the United States and in 2021, 8.79 million barrels per day of gasoline was sold.
- 32 miles/day: Americans traveled 8.834 billion miles per day in 2021, up 8.2% from 2020, and are expected to travel 9.117 billion miles per day in 2022. With 275.9 million registered vehicles in the United States, the average vehicle will travel approximately 32 miles per day.
- 69% of drivers seek best price: Retailers need to be competitive on price because more than two in three drivers (69%) say that the gasoline price is the top reason they select a specific retail fueling location to fill up. Convenient location is a distant second, at 22%.
- 145,000 fueling stations with 1.5 million nozzles: Cumulatively there are 145,000 fueling locations, with 1.5 million nozzles. Of the 145,000, 116,641 are convenience stores selling fuel, 14,826 are fueling kiosk locations, 6,494 are “big-box” locations such as grocery or mass-merchandise, and the remainder are traditional service stations and small-volume locations, including marinas.
Once you add all the summer-driving mileage to the routine grocery runs, office commutes and similar trips, it becomes clear that the rhythms of everyday life are directly connected to abundant fuel supplies and U.S. energy leadership. As our industry helps lead in developing innovative technologies to usher in a lower-carbon future, we must continue to meet the energy needs of today. Simply put, Americans need all the energy we can get. And the best and smartest way to get that energy is if Washington decisionmakers support policies to increase U.S. natural gas and oil production.
To name a few examples: The Biden administration needs to quickly develop and implement a new five-year program for offshore leasing, as well as conduct onshore lease sales on federal land. Additionally, both the administration and Congress need to support the energy infrastructure, including the pipelines, needed to supply liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipments to support our European allies. Again, energy from U.S. oil and natural gas remains a critical strategic asset to America – something that should never be taken for granted.
About The Author
Lem Smith is API’s vice president for Federal Relations. Lem joined API in February 2020 as vice president for Upstream Policy & Industry Operations. He previously served as a principal at Squire Patton Boggs, an international law and public-policy firm, where he advised private and public sector clients on federal and multi-state policy matters and provided counsel on communications strategies, campaign affairs and crises management. Previously, Lem was director, U.S. Government & Regulatory Affairs at Encana, and responsible for all aspects of U.S. government relations and regulatory policy matters at the state and federal levels. Prior to that, Lem was director of Government Relations for Kerr-McGee Corporation. Lem began his career on Capitol Hill, working for U.S. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, U.S. Rep. Roger Wicker (Mississippi) and the late U.S. Rep. Charlie Norwood (Georgia), where he negotiated key member priorities within the 2005 Energy Policy Act (EPAct). Lem is a graduate of the University of Mississippi.