The rate at which we use fuel even on an individual basis can be pretty surprising.
If you do just 10,000 miles per year at 30 mpg, you'll use 333.3 gallons in a year. That's around 2,800 pounds, or the weight of a small compact car--the sort of car that'd do around 30 mpg in the first place.
On a countrywide scale, the statistics are staggering--put into a handy infographic by blogger Adrienne Erin, writing on CJPonyParts.
Some of the statistics are fascinating. The U.S. uses 18 millon barrels daily, just to fuel its vehicles.
With 42 gallons per barrel (42 gallons is equivalent to six weeks' fuel for that 10,000-mile, 30 mpg car) that 18 million barrels equates to 756 million gallons. Incidentally, that's total fuel used by transport. The figure for gasoline is lower--around half, in fact, with 2006 being the peak year for gasoline fuel use in the U.S.
Still, that number pales in comparison to just how much oil is pumped out of the ground globally, on a daily basis--53 million barrels, to be precise.
Graphs show how U.S. vehicle fuel efficiency rose sharply in 2007--though conversely, fuel use has generally been dropping since 2004.
You can also see how much gas costs in some other countries compared to the U.S, and how much U.S. mass transit has been cut, in comparison to spending on highways.
Some statistics seem a little off or out of date--in the U.S. and Portugal comparison, for example, Portugal's oil use seems a little low. The statistics for number of cars in Europe and U.S. which achieve more than 40 mpg combined is from 2005 too--there are now 17 cars in the U.S. that achieve more than 40 mpg combined, a huge improvement.
The figures for global oil use are difficult to comprehend, given their enormity--but it's good to know both carmakers and consumers, as well as other industries, are doing their best to reduce the amount of oil we use.