With the continuous expansion of trade, it has been widely acknowledged that there is a large amount of embodied energy exported in China’s foreign trade. This study established a model based on input-output tables from 2002, 2007 and 2012 to quantify embodied oil in China’s trade from the view of total input. Critical coefficients and critical paths which affected oil consumption were selected by sensitivity analysis and structural path analysis. The accounting results indicated that China exported an increasing amount of embodied oil in 2002-2012, and the cumulative consumption ratio of sectors including “chemical industry”, “manufacture of electrical machinery and equipment”, “manufacture of communication equipment, computers and other electronic equipment” and “transportation and storage” was more than 40%. Sensitivity analysis showed that links between sectors, such as “extraction of petroleum and natural gas” to “processing of petroleum, coking, processing of nuclear fuel”, “processing of petroleum, coking, processing of nuclear fuel” to “transportation and storage”, “processing of petroleum, coking, processing of nuclear fuel” to “chemical industry”, were the key factors affecting the embodied energy export. Structural path analysis revealed that “wholesale and retail trade”, “chemical industry”, “research and experimental development” and “mining and processing of non-metal ores and mining of other ores” were higher-value-added sectors. Hence, expanding the technical effect of intermediate input and promoting the export of high value-added products would achieve external economic development with lower embodied oil exports.