• Dec 22, 2010
Peak oil, according to the great and all-knowing Wikipedia, "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 according to the Associated Press: Americans averaged about 8.2 million barrels of oil, or 344 gallons, per day in 2010, which is an eight 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, which is still by far the world's largest consumer of oil. 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 via CC 2.0]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 49 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      I wonder how much of this was caused to less usage of cars and how much is due to more fuel efficient vehichles. I doubt in 4 years so I'm guessing it a combination of the two leaning more to using cars for individual transport less. Does is also include airlines use? I know there was a huuuge drop in commercial flights.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The fuel price spike and very very beginnings of the recession started in 2006.

        Now that we are in a recession people are spending less, driving less and many have lost their jobs and have nowhere to drive to.

        When the economy recovers in two years, five years, ten years consumption will rise with it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        10% unemployment, which is more like 15% + 20%+ underemployment means that people are:

        1. driving to work less
        2. building less homes ( super oil intensive )
        3. manufacturing and shipping less stuff ( oil intensive )
        4. going out to do things less often.

        ..etc

        yes, there is a huge correlation. People aren't using less gas because they are snatching up Priuses. Last time i checked SUVs are still 1/2 of what's on the road.
        • 4 Years Ago
        2 Wheeled Menace: "Last time i checked SUVs are still 1/2 of what's on the road."

        Agreed, but now we have 7 seat SUVs that get 24 mpg as opposed to 8 or 12 mpg.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm waiting to see if OPEC opens up the spigot to meet Chinese demand, if Chinese demand will forever turn the market away from oil by continued price increase, or if the speculators will finally get banned from commodities futures.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Census data from 2010 says the US population has increased 27 million in just 10 years, mostly from immigration. If current immigration trends continue we will add 130 million people in 40 years. I highly doubt demand will "never go up again."
      • 4 Years Ago
      They might as well make cars electric who the hell cares if its not fun to drive.We need cars to get from point a to point b,having sex in your car is funner than driving a fast car anyway.Plus the speed limit is 70mph,we don't need fast cars what's the point.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "having sex in your car is funner than driving a fast car anyway."

        One more reason for me to hang on to my Jeep Cherokee and not buy an economy car...

        I don't need a fast car, but I like it. Do you have a problem with that? Not that I really care what you think...
        • 4 Years Ago
        Who said electric cars aren't fun to drive?

        Ever heard of a Tesla?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Those electric cars are like rideing in a tuna can. Repairs on them will be very expensive. Drill baby drill. I want to drive my truck.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Great news, hopefully some day every car will be electric.
        Michael
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Electric" cars are really coal cars. Unless you are in the Pacific Nortwhest; there they are dead salmon cars.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The first thing I will do when I'll have my first oil-free efficient vehicle, I'm gonna drive it in the front of oil companies HQ and do burnouts.
        • 4 Years Ago
        So, I get voted down for saying we should also embrace other alternatives besides electric? Why? Most of our electricity produced is by use of fossil fuels, including petroleum.

        Sure, windmills are in their infancy, and already people are complaining about having to look at them.

        So, voting me down for saying we should not put all our eggs in one basket, seems a tad hypocritical. Don't you think?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Tom: Feel free to disagree, just because you may disagreed with the program, doesn't change the facts.

        C4C did removed about a quarter million gas guzzlers and replaced them with more fuel efficient vehicles. AutoBlog had posted a list of what cars were traded in and what cars replaced them. Quite a few people traded in 8 Cyl. Explorers for Hybrid Escapes. The difference between those two vehicles is about 17 mpg. I recalled reading somewhere that the net gain for the entire C4C fleet was about 11 mpg.
        • 4 Years Ago
        They have to make them fun to drive first, then I will hope the same. I'm more than willing to drive an efficient vehicle, just make it interesting! I'd be in a coma if I had a Prius.
        kate
        • 4 Years Ago
        Electric cars? So you want to use up energy like the kind produced with coal....??? That's environmentally friendly! It's just as friendly as the wind turbines taking out entire flocks of birds! A little too much smug....
        • 4 Years Ago
        you are simply too poor to be not in a coma. (Tesla)
        • 4 Years Ago
        "barring any unexpected periods of economic boom" Exactly... Economy is in the toilet leading to reduced demand. When the ecomony is back up in a few years (decades? ha) demand will skyrocket again.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Electric cars would be a great idea if electricity could be generated by magic. The problem is that most electric in the US is generated by plants that burn coal or natural gas. So the problem is that you take one kind of fuel and burn it to produce a different kind of energy, and that energy is used to propel a car. Along with all the loss of efficiency that occurs with each step in the process, you still are burning something to propel a vehicle down the road. Now if the environmental whackos would stop protesting nuclear generation of electricity, we may have a future with electric cars.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Hey Doc...

        While I mostly agree with everything you're saying, I have to take issue with the comment about Cash for Clunkers having any impact on the National Fuel Economy...didn't happen that way. Other than that, good post...
        • 4 Years Ago
        @akboss302

        Uh, Tesla? And that car is only a few years old. Imagine what we have coming...
        • 4 Years Ago
        Caz: I think you missed the part where he said there are more vehicles now than ever before. They economy might be a contributing factor, but it was not the REASON. There are a number different dynamics going on all at once that resulted in the decline.

        Every new car added to the us fleet is more efficient than the one it replaces. Cash for Clunkers was a big boost on that front.

        More cities switching to Hybrid buses. The New York MTA had more than 1200 buses as of Jan 2010. You Hybrid cars save fuel? you should how much more fuel hybrid buses save. Also, each bus runs 15 - 20 hours per day. When they had only 300 hybrid buses deployed, they were saving more than a million gallons of diesel fuel annually.

        More and more truck stops are adding "Truck Tenders" as a service. Instead of leaving trucks to idle all night while they sleep, they park under a boom that lowers a service module that provides electricity to warm the engine blocks, run the refrigerators. Conservative estimates say this service saves close to 10 million gallons annually.

        GPS. With turn by turn directions available to so many, untold amounts of fuel saved, because fewer missed turns and fewer folks getting outright lost.

        Once adaptive traffic signals are deployed nationally, we won't waste as much sitting at red lights when there is no traffic crossing the intersection you just sat at for 2 or more minutes. Its been tried in San Francisco and has been a resounding success.

        I could go on and on. Just wanted to illustrate that this is a more complex situation than people not being able to afford to drive more.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Tom: Correction: That should have read - The net gain across the C4C fleet was about 11 mpg average per vehicle.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Post on, people. The bad news is that the feds and the states will INCREASE their per gallon taxes to make up for declining revenue.Yes, electric cars are wonderful, except they still require their own infrastructure....where are you gonna get the electricity to recharge the things? Maybe we can just chug on over to mamby-pamby land....
      Larry
      • 4 Years Ago
      We are just all too poor to go for "a drive" any more.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Wait a minute, 8.2 million barrels of oil = 344 gallons? Doesn't sound right to me.
        • 4 Years Ago
        ECONOMY SAVED!
        • 4 Years Ago
        LOL, they probably meant 344 million gallons.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Very small barrels
      • 4 Years Ago
      Waits for the comment : "I don't use 10 gallons of gas a day, how do they figure I use 344 gallons a day for an entire year!?!?!"
      • 4 Years Ago
      People are cutting back and unemployment is high, so this should come as no surprise. People are staying home more, and therefore driving less.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It is a bit like my expense account .. the boss pushes me to keep it down, but their is a STRONG corrolation between me doing business generating activities and the size of my expenses.

      US is not producing things .. like the Roman's .. and other countries are. Over time, that will pay off and you will see these countries grow and grow as their standard of living rises (delayed effect) and ours goes down (again delayed effect).

      People who see the long term will not be surprised, but short term thinkers .. those that say cut the salesforce, cut advertising and promotion .. will think the universe is just against them and has nothing to do with their "cost saving" measures.
      • 4 Years Ago
      What no one ever talks about is over-population. Too many people using to few resources.
        • 4 Years Ago
        That's what it all boils down to.

        But it is still a worthwhile effort to conserve.
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