Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Oil consumption around the world

Oil consumption around the world:
To add to yesterday’s post on energy trends, Stuart Saniford posts a graph of per capita oil consumption around the world:

The thing that sticks out — apart from Saudi Arabia’s profligacy in the past decade — is the fact that, for the wealthiest countries, oil use per person peaked back in the 1970s. After the OPEC spike, per capita consumption went down and stayed down. More recently, it’s started dipping again, as China, India and other developing countries use more oil.

Unless the world gets massive new additions in oil supply, Saniford argues this trend will continue for some time. Wealthy countries will keep cutting per capita oil consumption to make room for fast-growing developing countries. The real question is how we’ll do it. “There are two ways for these cuts in consumption to happen: use oil more efficiently in the economy, or have less economy,” he writes. “Since 2005, in the US, we are mainly taking the second approach.”

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