It was on-loan young Wolves star Zeli Ismail who was the major driving force behind the victory.
Dominic Knowles fired the Brewers into a 10th minute lead when he ran onto Ismail's fine pass and rounded keeper Ryan Clarke before finishing smartly.
Burton, who always carried a threat going forward, went close through Billy Kee's shot on the turn from 20 yards, which flashed past the far post.
But it wasn't long before they were in full control.
Ismail made it 2-0 on 26 minutes by following up with a drive into the roof of the net after Clarke could only parry Jimmy Phillips' low shot.
It almost got even worse for the U's, who conceded a penalty two minutes later, when David Hunt brought Phillips down as he burst into the box.
However, Clarke saved Kee's spot kick with a fine low save to his left.
Oxford played with more passion and urgency in the second half, and pulled one back in the 52nd minute when Ryan Williams slotted home from David Connolly's pass.
And Oxford twice almost snatched an equaliser. First, James Constable shot against the inside of a post, then Connolly's powerful drive was tipped over the bar by keeper Rob Lainton.