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Peak oil, according to the great and all-knowing Wiki, "is the point in time when the maximum rate of global petroleum extraction is reached, after which the rate of production enters terminal decline." Regardless of your opinions on whether or not the planet has entered into its Peak Oil stage, it would seem that the United States has at least entered the stage of steady decline in usage.

Here's the hard data: Americans averaged about 8.2 million barrels of oil, or 344 gallons, per day in 2010, which is an 8-percent drop since the country's peak in 2006. Experts seem to agree that gasoline usage in the States will continue to drop – as much as 20 percent by the year 2030, despite millions of additional cars on the roads – barring any unexpected periods of economic boom or another meteoric drop in fuel prices.

Before environmentalists get too excited, though, the falling trend of gasoline usage only applies to the United States. This is good, because the U.S. is still, by far, the world's largest consumer of oil. The trouble is that demand from emerging countries, especially China and India, will more than make up for the declining usage in the U.S., leading to an expected record of 88.3 million barrels of oil produced in 2011. The more things change, they more they stay the same...

[Source: The Associated Press via Google | Image: Farther Along]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 29 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      @Jeremy Korzeniewski
      "the great and all-knowing Wiki"

      Don't be lazy. "Wiki" means an easy-to-edit interlinked web site and/or the software that runs it, there are tens of thousands of these. "Wikipedia" is a specific great and all-knowing web site that is a wiki. "Wiki" is not a shorthand or slang name for Wikipedia any more than "Motors" is shorthand for General Motors, and it just encourages people to confuse Wikipedia with unrelated sites such as Wikileaks, Wikia, wikiHow, Wikitravel, etc.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm been preparing for peak oil for 5 years now and made some short video's to show people what they can do... I attached one here.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUCl1TruUfo

      MrEnergyCzar
      • 3 Years Ago
      Any way you can tear that United States flag off of that OIl Pump. if is a disgrace.
      • 4 Years Ago
      'Before environmentalists get too excited, though, the falling trend of gasoline usage only applies to the United States. '

      ??Where does that idea come from? It is not in the quoted source, and is likely to be entirely incorrect anyway as a projection.
      The IEA, for instance, looks for oil use to fall throughout the OECD, not just in the US, partially making up for rising consumption elsewhere in the world.
      Incidentally, the IEA's projection for oil supply is based on some fairly optimistic projections of oil coming from as yet unknown sources.
      As usual, they seem to have been leant on not to be too pessimistic.
      The US is in my view likely to have to run on a great deal less than 80% of current oil consumption by 2030, as are other OECD countries.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I think Jeremy is just saying that things such as worldwide CO2 output (from gasoline) aren't going to be declining anytime soon (or at least by much) since other countries such as China and India are seeing *increasing* demands for oil as their countries start using more (fossil-fueled) transportation.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You are correct. It applies to the OECD in general, not just the USA, IMHO. I think that was just a bad inference by the ABG writer.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think it will go up again. Not by much. I don't think we've quite hit our consumption peak yet. I certainly could be wrong though.

      But if we have hit our consumption peak then there is an unspoken truth . . . gas prices are going to go up. Way up. That is the only thing that has ever proven to restrain our endless appetite.

      So read between the lines, folks. Gas prices are going up. And that is why all those "No one will buy EVs" reports are dead wrong.
      • 4 Years Ago
      China and India aren't switching because petrol is such an amazing energy source. The cost to convert a large portion of the economy to renewable energy would simply be to great. Remember, that EV charges off of electricity produced by burning coal. And to mine the coal, you need the petrol. Prepare for the human population peak, it's going to be a long ride down.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Spec is probably right. Keep in mind though that OPEC and pals will fight to the death to keep oil prices LOW! As soon as they hit $120/bbl again - the rush to EVs will be on in earnest.

      And BTW, why is it that China and India cannot grok the need to electrify?? Especially when they can leap over the ICE and gasoline issues that have near destroyed other countries. What is it?? Are they plain dumb???
        • 4 Years Ago
        'why is it that China and India cannot grok the need to electrify??'

        ?? China has a huge program of fuel efficiency and electrification.
        Their subsidies are on the same scale per vehicle as that of the US, and they have a lot of tools in their armoury such as road tolls and relatively high prices for petrol which make it easier than in the States.
        So far it hasn't worked though, as most folk in China are buying their first car and are still in love with the ICE, plus wages are of course still fairly low, making the high price of electric difficult to raise.
        Expect once the technology is a bit more ready, and especially if (when?) oil prices spike up again for things to move at 'China speed', and the switch to be far more rapid than in the US.
        For a start their vehicle park is only around half the size of that of the US to roll over, and they are moving further ahead year on year in annual production, so turnover will be faster.

        As for India, incomes are still more restricted, and also the electricity supply is unreliable, which if you are trying to charge your car causes problems.
        However, although with anything like present technology I feel that solar is a spectacularly dumb idea in most of Europe, and substantial parts of the US, not so in India.
        Being that much closer to the equator makes all the difference for annual variability, the killer for using solar, and the grid being less developed and unreliable makes the opportunity cost of solar lower, and obviously wages for installation would be much lower.
        It is still far too dear by a huge amount, but there is real potential there.
        • 4 Years Ago
        There is no way that Australia can make up for a shortfall in Chinese production, or if they could mine it that it could be transported there.
        Here is world production by country:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_coal_production
        With Chinese production at 3,050 million tons, and Australian at 409 million, total production is only around 13% of Chinese, a couple of years increase.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I would like to wholeheartedly agree with you about China & India as to why they don't just electrify as it makes sense.

        But I think it is simple, it is just - Cost relative to Average Wages.

        I am hoping the electrified Tata might go some way to help with the cost problem.

        http://green.autoblog.com/2010/12/10/tata-readies-electric-indica-vista-for-early-2011-launch/
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Grant.

        China for now at least will just still keep buying it from our giant coal mine - Australia and we will keep selling it to them as our economy runs on it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @David Martin.

        My comment was a figure of speech - I needed a smiley face :)

        You are right of course, we don't have enough coal to supply on our own the resource hungry China solely - there demand far outstrips our supply.

        We do export more coal than any other nation (and still growing) and our economy relies heavily on sales of commodities due to our narrow export base.

        Our countries commodity boom (coal included) has been directly tied to China's growth and demand for worldwide commodities as other countries may have reduced their demand China has done for the most part the opposite - so one could tie this to a thought that China is buying all our resources.

        Of course this is not true we don't just sell all Australia's coal to China - it is in fact mostly to Japan.

        http://www.australiancoal.com.au/the-australian-coal-industry_coal-exports_coal-export-details.aspx

        Whether Australia or any other country for that matter will have enough finite commodities and production to meet growth demands for the every hungrier China into the future is another question due to their rapid and long term unsustainable growth.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It's called "peak coal." Seriously, China is running out.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Oh . . . this is CERA saving face:
      "A combination of demographic change and policy change means the heady days of gasoline growing in the U.S. are over," says Daniel Yergin, chairman of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates and author of a Pulitzer Prize-winning history of the oil industry."

      Yergin and his CERA have been denying peak oil for years. Since their forecasts have been dead wrong for a number of years, they've found a way to re-frame the data to show that they were not really wrong. It's not 'peak oil' . . . . it is 'peak demand'! Pffft. Whatever. Production is never going to higher than demand. So if there is peak demand it is the same as peak oil. They'll never admit that though.

      But what else are you going to do if you are the most well-known oil prognosticator and your predictions have been completely wrong and some outside activist group (ASPO) got it closer to the truth. Sorry Dan . . . I see through your sad attempt to save face.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The north sea just discovered a new reserve.
      They are pumping out 2,300 barrels a day, so all our problems are solved.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I think most bloggers on ABG have the wrong impession on fossil fuels. It's not correct to base argumentations on price only. Far more important are the aspects of pollution on our environment. It's "high noon" we depart from FFs and change to renewables. Once our environment has degraded below the point of no return, prices or production quantities will no longer matter; nor will we.
      harlanx6
      • 4 Years Ago
      If we are going to produce a record in 2011, then I guess we haven't reached "peak oil" yet. I also guess it's politically incorrect to say so. If we need it, they will pump!
        • 4 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        Well, the US hit peak oil in the 1985 and has been going down ever since.
        http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/petroleum/analysis_publications/oil_market_basics/sup_image_worldprod.htm#North America
        We still import more than we produce, so it's more like "If we need it, we will pay"
        • 4 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        Electruk . . . the USA actually hit a production peak in 1971. That chart is for North America. Canada is probably still climbing a little due to the oil sands. But Mexico may have peaked. Mexico better get their act together because things are going to get worse as they lose that oil revenue.

        And those numbers in the article are all messed up . . . I think they are just for gasoline only. Our total oil usage (for gasoline, diesel, petrochemicals, aviation fuel, etc.) was once more than 20mbpd. It dropped to around 18.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        There are at least two elements to oil production. First is supplies of conventional, relatively cheap oil, and also newer oil from deep sea wells etc, which is a great deal more expensive.
        The second element is 'all liquids', which includes oil associated with gas etc.
        Oil production would be decreasing were it not for this.
        The rise in total production if graphed is hardly large enough to indicate any major new peaks in production, but is more of the 'bumpy plateau' the Obama administration talks about, with oil production being essentially flat from 2005, with minor deviations.

        I am not sure where you get the idea that large increases in production are possible if only the demand is there.
        They assumed the same thing about US production in the 70's, when many thought that indigenous production would rapidly increase, as there were supposed to be large reserves only waiting for a price signal to be switched on.
        It didn't happen. Geology trumped neo-classical economics, and it is not going to happen now.
        Some increase may be possible, above all from Iraq, and some very expensive oil from deep sea in Brazil, but the giant fields which have fulfilled demand from the 30's to the present are in rapid decline.

        There are no major forecasts supporting the view you hold.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "...barring any unexpected periods of economic boom..."

      In other words, "it's the depression, stupid". And assuming we never recover from the Obama depression, gas use will never go up again. Takes a pretty sick mind to think of that as good news.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Lol, the Obama depression huh. This elephant must have a very short memory...
      • 4 Years Ago
      wt is right of course. With all of China's "resources and armory" they're doing a crap job of getting their citizens to adopt EVs. It's CHINA after all. Land of the slave labor wage. If any country can build a cheap EV it should be China.

      Problem is CCP hasn't faced the fact their coal use and expansion kills a million people a year due to toxic air quality. The most polluted nation on the planet - due to coal and unregulated manufacturing. And Beijing the capital & New Dehli top the list:

      http://urbanemissions.blogspot.com/2010/11/new-delhi-tied-for-worlds-worst-air.html
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