The history of the petroleum industry in the United States goes back to the early 19th century, although the indigenous peoples, like many ancient societies, have used petroleum seeps since prehistoric times; where found, these seeps signaled the growth of the industry from the earliest discoveries to the more recent.
Petroleum became a major industry following the oil discovery at Oil Creek, Pennsylvania, in 1859. For much of the 19th and 20th centuries, the US was the largest oil producing country in the world. US regained the position of the largest oil producing country in the world in 2018 and has it kept every year since as of 2022.
Before the Drake well
Native Americans had known of the oil in western Pennsylvania, and had made some use of it for many years before the mid-19th century. Early European explorers noted seeps of oil and natural gas in western Pennsylvania and New York. Interest grew substantially in the mid-1850s as scientists repo