Firstly, the liver is not the only organ using fatty acids as fuel. And if the liver is not getting enough oxygen, there is something very, very wrong. And oxygen is not the limiting factor for ketogenesis, it is, if I remember correctly, acetyl CoA. And lastly, the amount of oxygen required for ketogenesis is, necessarily, less than the amount needed for the full fatty-acid metabolic cycle.
Yes, indeedy. This comes as a surprise? Surely not.
The production of ketones in the absence of dietary glucose (also known as “carbohydrate”) is essential, because the brain needs to be fed, or the whole enterprise comes to a screeching halt. Fatty acids do not cross the blood-brain barrier, so it has to be ketones. And I don’t believe that gluconeogenesis is robust enough to meet all the brain’s needs, even if it were as efficient a process as fatty-acid metabolism.
What I mean is that there is a significant energy cost to deaminating an amino acid, then turning it into glucose or a fat, and then metabolising it. Better to just send out the little bit of glucose that is needed, and let ketogenesis work on the fatty acids. And to let the muscles work on fatty acids as well, since they prefer that even to ketones. For endurance needs, fatty acids are better than glucose, since they “burn” cleaner and produce a slightly larger amount of ATP. But fatty-acid metabolism is a slower process, which is why the muscles also use glucose for explosive power. More oxidative stress, but faster power when needed. Any fatty acids not needed for regular metabolism or for ketogenesis can be either wasted or stored. And as far as wasting is concerned, don’t forget that fatty-acid consumption by adipocytes can be uncoupled from the cells’ actual energy needs, and the excess energy wasted as heat.
And just as an aside, I may be missing something, but I don’t see any way that measuring the amount of circulating β-hydroxybutyrate could tell us much about ketone production or consumption, only about the gap between them. If all the TV sets the factory produces are being bought by vendors, you’re not going to catch too many of them in trucks on the highway, regardless of how many are or are not being made. You’d do better to look at respiratory quotient, or some other measure. Phinney and Volek talk about this in their studies of keto-adapted athletes.