An ever-increasing number of fuel efficient vehicles combined with changes in driving habits have contributed to reduced petroleum consumption in recent years in both North America and Europe. Despite this, global petroleum consumption is on the rise, according to the US Energy Information Administration. Global consumption of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, heating oil and other petroleum products reached a record high 88.9 million barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2012. Growth in Asia and other regions more than offset reduced consumption in the markets that used to lead the petroleum consumption race.

An EIA video (watch it below) tracks global oil consumption from 1980 to 2012. Asia was consuming about 10 million barrels of oil per day in 1980, and by 2012 that volume tripled to nearly 30 million barrels per day. North America had dominated the chart for years, but moved to second place behind Asia in 2009. Rapidly industrializing economies in China and India have been fueling the growth. China increased petroleum consumption 2.8 million bbl/d and India by 800,000 bbl/d between 2008 and 2012. China is expected to surpass the US as the world's largest oil importer this fall. That growth rate also has serious implications for carbon emissions. Governments in China and India are pushing for more clean transportation, but their economic booms are taking the lead.



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  • 58 Comments
      omni007
      • 1 Year Ago
      People in general have priorities, and keeping the air, water, oceans, beaches, land clean is not one of them. You'll notice that despite uncomfortable prices, the status quo remains. Sure, we get a few greenies trying to make a difference, but mostly everyone does the same thing, and mostly the "green" stuff gets done by people out to make money. It's the whole system, folks. No way around it.
        EZEE
        • 1 Year Ago
        @omni007
        mostly the "green" stuff gets done by people out to make money. :-)
          omni007
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EZEE
          Yes, and sadly that means for the most part that it's neither particularly green nor likely to last. People out to make money follow the money. If the money is in "green", they'll do it as long as it stays that way, then they change when the winds of money change. If the majority of people had altruistic motives, and were educated about the situation, I would expect more positive change. As it stands, though, that's not the case, so real positive change won't happen while the system and people in general are as they are.
          EZEE
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EZEE
          Altruistic motives? Apple invented the iPad when no one thought they wanted one. Many people bought them, or the competitors, and apple made a boat load of money. Very selfish of apple, but, we all benefitted. Now imagine some rich guy - he has $5 million in the bank. While in the bank, loans are made with that money by the bank, houses are bought, investments are made. Piles of money are made, and many people benefit. Jobs are created. Now, the rich guy says, 'I need to give back to my community!' So he gives away all $5 million to soup kitchens. Yay, the poor eat! And maybe through donations, also get money for alcohol, drugs, or whatever else got the, homeless in the first place. The rich guy's maid no longer has a job. The bank now has $5 million less, so in our altruistic universe, the interest rates go up (I am projecting out if many rich people liquidated their assets). Whatever the rich guy did to get his $5 million is now gone - so the business that made products and employed people....dead. No jobs. No widgets. By making money, the rich produce something that people want and need, and are willing to pay money for. Or should I say, 'those, rich or poor, who want to make a boat load of money, produce something...' Ipso facto, ergo, making money is a good thing, and the person that figures out this EV thing the right way, will make a boat load of money, will live in a palace, and we will all be better because of him/her.
      DaveMart
      • 1 Year Ago
      It looks to me as though it is now possible to get shale oils out of areas like the Green River formations, where total amounts are vast, but extracting the thick gunk was extremely expensive in financial, ecological and energy terms. The basic challenge is to heat the stuff so that it flows like regular oil, and it looks as though solid oxide fuel cells will be able to do the job: http://www.iepm.com/ You bury them, feed them natural gas for a while whilst the reaction gets going, and then they obtain their working fuel using a portion of the released gases themselves, providing surplus electricity for the grid too. The remaining challenges are mainly to do with durability, but it looks do-able to me. There is no excavation, no spoil heaps of tailings and so on, and much reduced water use. The Canadian tar sands, coal seams, coal bed methane and maybe even methane hydrates are extractable by this method. In case this doesn't pan out, there are other technological possibilities such as microwaves to heat the ground. So it seems unlikely to me that there will be any shortage of fossil fuels for the foreseeable future. What that means for global warming is another question. Guys like me would still like to go big on nuclear, which would solve the problem.
        brotherkenny4
        • 1 Year Ago
        @DaveMart
        There has never been a doubt that the oil and gas is out there. The question really is what is the price? Now that oil prices are high and will remain high, because we will depend on tar sands and fracking, other options may also be possible. However, non-fossil energy also becomes more cost effective too. While I am sure the hired supporters of fossil energy will rant about there being plenty of oil, and that we haven't reach peak oil, some people will see what the price of that oil is and wonder how all this great technology and new wonderful sources have benefited us. On a side note, if we have all this other nontraditional oil, and better efficiency cars, wouldn't it be to our benefit to stop protecting middle eastern oil? The price would go high, but additional domestic resources would become economical to produce and the benefit of that would more than offset the additional cost, since the money would stay here in the US. We would also not have to subsidize the oil industry through military protections like we are about to do in Syria. We would also essentially increase the price for China and India and ours would remain flat. Then China and India would have to be concerned with the terrorists.
          DaveMart
          • 1 Year Ago
          @brotherkenny4
          I was not sure that oil and gas could be extracted from things like oil sands at a good enough cost, economically and in energy terms, to allow business as usual, and thought that there might at least be a hiatus where the world economy got into real trouble due to shortages of fossil fuels at prices which could be afforded. I now think that this is unlikely, and that it will be possible to extract vast quantities of fossil fuels at prices which won't crash the economy for many decades. Although I detailed recent research, published in the last couple of days, to support this view, this particular technology is far from the only one I could have outlined. Whether it is a good idea to extract fossil fuels on this scale is another question, and one which I have outlined my own reservations about. We are none of us 'The Great Dictator' though, so we can't fully determine what happens in the world, and even though such extraction may be unwise it seems to me that there are no insuperable technical or financial reasons why fossil fuel use shouldn't trundle on for decades.
        Marco Polo
        • 1 Year Ago
        @DaveMart
        @ DaveMart and LTAW, Congratulations on such accurate and informed posts. But I sympathize with those who just can't accept that the long accepted doctrine of imminent oil depletion, has been disproved ! Only three years ago, I used to post on ABG my belief in the inevitability of economic oil depletion in the foreseeable future. I was wrong ! But I was in good company, there was a general consensus about peak oil, even the oil companies concurred. But then technology kicked in at with astonishing speed ! The results changed everything. It's now obvious that there is vast amounts of recoverable fossil fuels, accessible with advanced technology. To ignore such developments, simply because it discredits an ideological or philosophic belief, is either delusional, or dishonest. No matter how disconcerting, continuing to pretend that Hubberts 'peak oil' theories are relevant, requires a divorce from reality.
          DaveMart
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Marco Polo
          @markrogo: That is pretty much what peak oil always has been. Hubbard, who initially formulated the idea, was clear that although he saw oil peaking, and by that he was talking about conventional oil although allowing for more sophisticated extraction methods, not tar sands and so on, he saw no such limits for energy, and emphasised first nuclear and later solar as being essentially unlimited for practical purposes energy sources. The issue really was whether high oil prices would cause the economy to crash so badly that neither more expensive unconventional oil nor solar, nuclear etc could be moved to, so that there was a crash of a severity largely predicted by the outlook of the person making the guess. So all sorts attached themselves to the Peak Oil banner, with doomers taking it as the maths behind their ideas on population crashing, the icing on the cake of their notions that water and so on was going to run out, or adequate supplies of clean enough water to sustain the present population. In that sort of form the basic notion was that oil shortages meant ever more expensive and scarcer energy, so that Gail Tverberg(?) for instance tapped into Tainter's theories of the collapse of complex societies to assert that that 'simplification' was here now, and maintained repeatedly that without oil for instance the electricity grid would break down, in spite of umpteen electrical engineers saying that the grid would be just fine without oil. She simply kept quiet, then repeated the same claim on the next occasion. So the peak in conventional oil is proceeding just as expected, with people like West Texas having done fine analyses on the rapid fall in exports we are going to see from Saudi, as they need more of their own production to supply their own rapidly growing demand ( The Export Land model ) The doomsters have been disappointed however, and their life-denying pessimism have wandered off, to find another hook to hang their clinical depression on.
          markrogo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Marco Polo
          I don't think peak oil has been disproved so much as that it's been modified to be, "There is an amount of oil that we can produce that is entirely dependent on the price of oil and that amount turns out to be a finite for a given price." At $100/bbl, the North Dakota stuff is very viable. At $120/bbl, the Canadian tar sands are very viable. At $200/bbl, the deep, deep offshore Brazilian oil will be viable. But at $50/bbl, all of that oil is not viable at all. It's very different from the original theory, but it does point out that oil production is finite and the world's easy oil has, in fact, almost entirely been depleted already.
          Marcopolo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Marco Polo
          @ markrogo Here's the thing, nothing, certainly no commodity, remains immune from inflation. Hubberts 'peak oil theory' was about the certainty of disruptive oil supply through depletion. (a sort of Mad Max scenario) . I suppose we could say that the entire planet has finite date for existence, but that's not really relevant to the foreseeable future. There never was any 'easy oil' ! It's only in retrospect many things seem easy, but considered damn difficult at the time. All over the world, oil fields are being discovered with new technology, and old fields, long considered played out, are once again highly productive. The world is about to undergo another oil boom. I understand your desire to continue clinging to some version of the old theory, however, it's just not possible to do so without abandoning reality. Will the price of oil return to being ridiculously cheap ? Of course not ! But that's very different from depletion.
          DaveMart
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Marco Polo
          Just so, Marco. I was also something of a 'peak oiler', although I always drew a heavy line between conventional and unconventional resources. Its pretty clear now though that the obstacles to a relatively rapid deployment of unconventional resources are not as great as I and others imagined. Discussion here has centred on the Green River deposits, kerogens which are about the toughest resource to bring into play. The link I provided makes clear though that way before we need to tackle that, the same technology can get a lot more oil from existing conventional wells, and also the vast Canadian oil sand deposits, and coal bed methane etc, so supplies should greatly increase before the shales need to be tackled. Another point of interest is that the same technology can provide enough heat to purify pollution hot spots, so cleaning the environment. As I mentioned if fuel cells don't pan out in this application, we can use microwaves to the same end.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @DaveMart
        I read about the Colorado School of Mines recently getting the world's first geothermic fuel cell, which operates as DaveMart describes: "Researchers at Colorado School of Mines took delivery of the world’s first Geothermic Fuel Cell (GFC) on Aug. 5, 2013. Designed and built by Delphi, headquartered in Rochester, NY, for IEP Technology, of Parker, Colo., the GFC will efficiently generate 4.5 kW of electricity from natural gas fuel. Its real value lies in the heat that it liberates while generating this electricity -- scientists and engineers seek to harness this heat to recover unconventional oil. This electricity comes as a useful and valuable byproduct of the oil-recovery process. In partnership with IEP Technology and Delphi, students, engineers, and faculty will characterize the thermal and electrical performance of the geothermic fuel cell at the Colorado Fuel Cell Center laboratory on the Mines campus. The solid-oxide fuel cells packaged within the GFC operate at high temperature (nearly 750 ºC) to convert natural gas into electricity and heat. When implemented, clusters of GFCs will be placed into the earth within oil shale formations for oil recovery. GFCs present a potentially transformative technology for accessing the world’s vast oil-shale reserves, which are estimated at 4.8 trillion barrels worldwide, in an environmentally responsible manner. “This privately funded research and development project leverages the past investments in infrastructure made by Colorado School of Mines and federal agencies in the Colorado Fuel Cell Center. Such university-industrial partnerships are common at Mines, and create unique learning experiences for both our students and faculty, while answering important questions facing our industrial partners in bringing such technologies to market,” said Dr. Neal Sullivan, Mines associate professor of mechanical engineering." http://minesnewsroom.com/news/mines-receives-world%E2%80%99s-first-geothermic-fuel-cell
          DaveMart
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          @Spec: You really ought to read something about in situ extraction, and also about fuel cells. We know in situ extraction works, and they have been weighing up the best heat source to get the ground up to the temperatures they need. We also know solid oxide fuel cells work,. What has not been done before is to apply them to this application. Developing that is very different to blue sky research. I could provide extensive links on both points, but since you don't bother to carry out the most cursory reading of links already provided before holding forth on your attitude to this and that, it is a waste of time.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          Humans did use oil shales to produce oil for centuries, until the discovery of the oil fields in the Middle East in the mid-20th c. Now that those fields are running low, we're refocusing back to those other sources.
          DaveMart
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          The Colorado Fuel Cell project is tied in with IEP for commercial exploitation. I gave the IEP link.
          Spec
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          So basically this is just some educational science project and you guys are portraying it as solving the world's oil problems. Don't you think that is just a bit naive? You really think we'd be importing oil for decades this was a simple oil source sitting right under our nose?
        Spec
        • 1 Year Ago
        @DaveMart
        You don't seem to understand the difference between shale oil and oil shale. Sadly, the names are similar but the two are fundamentally different. No one has figured out an economic system for oil shale and those that claim to have a system are like the people that claim they have a new miracle battery.
          DaveMart
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          Try reading the link provided, then you might be able to sensibly comment. This technique should be able to extract both. In this instance I did use the terms the wrong way around, but since both can be extracted this is of limited import save to pedants. If you think that this technology can't do the job, please detail exactly how it falls down, with numbers. That does involve some effort though, such as actually reading about it so that you know what you are talking about.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          "Sadly, the names are similar but the two are fundamentally different." Shale oil is recovered by heating oil shale. The "oil shale" is the rock that holds the oil, "shale oil" is the term used for the oil recovered from the rock.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          "Shale oil, known also as kerogen oil or oil-shale oil, is an unconventional oil produced from oil shale by pyrolysis, hydrogenation, or thermal dissolution." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shale_oil Shale oil is as I described it. Oil shales are heated, and shale oil is recovered from the process. Oil shales have provided valuable products since the 14th century. I suggest that Spec should go back and read the links, and find out exactly how the geologic fuel cell extracts oil and gases from oil shale.
          Spec
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          "Shale oil is recovered by heating oil shale. " Wrong. Shale oil is is conventional oil that is recovered from tight oil pockets in shale formations by using hydrofracturing. That is something we can do now although it is expensive. Oil shale is not oil . . . it is kerogen. It is pre-oil. And despite many attempts for many decades, no one has been able to profitably extract oil from it. It is burned in power plants in some Eastern European countries sort of like coal but it is a dirty ugly process that creates mountains of tailing since it is less energy dense than a potato.
          DaveMart
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          Paul: Your moral high horse makes no difference to the basic point I was making, that technically there would not seem to be a problem in continuing to provide fossil fuels at an affordable price. I myself pointed out that this may not be a good idea, although greenhouse gas emissions as well as other nasties would appear to be reduced by using in situ extraction compared to present methods. What either of us might prefer though does not alter the the economic and technical realities of energy supply.
          paulwesterberg
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          We should just start detonating nukes underground. Nuke the hell out of the earth till it bleed oil! Nuke Baby Nuke! I mean what could go wrong?
      • 1 Year Ago
      Oil is our daily energy staple. Or is it a drug our society has been flying high on for over a century? And isn't it time we started getting ready to detox? Watch "Back to Earth" www.cultureunplugged.com/documentary/watch-online/play/11797
      Giza Plateau
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is why I'm obviously right when I'm saying the douche automakers are moving way way too slow. And why you all are so guilty for being passive sheep or even attacking my stance. There is not a single EV on the market or coming that is even remotely able to change things. Model S is no exception because of the price. i3 is slow and somewhat expensive. Volt is offensively uninspiring and very overpriced still. Leaf is heinous and still quite overpriced. And we don't have the blitz charge that is possible and could really make things take off. What you mindless sheep don't understand is that given the obvious reluctance and incompetence of the automakers and their usual slow reaction times for new car development, we are looking at no significant changes in oil consumption in the next 10 years as well. You have to understand that this limp wristed incrementalism is no better than doing nothing at all. It is an illusion of progress. Read the title again. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUOO-zJ0ASw
        Sasparilla Fizz
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Giza Plateau
        Well, the plug-ins are selling better than the hybrids did during the same time of their introduction - even though the plugins are much more expensive - so they are doing okay for 1st generation tech.. The thing holding numbers back is the fact that batteries are expensive - but that isn't a constant number - they are going down every year and are expected to do so through the next decade (even without major breakthroughs, which are coming with all the money pouring into battery research). We're approaching Generation 2 here (around 2015) and the automakers will have to deal with the tax credit fading out (price wise). For truly commercially successfull plug in numbers I think we'll be looking at Generation 3 (about 2020), by then the batteries will have fallen far enough in price that plug-ins for vehicles $20k and above or so will be no brainer choices and the numbers will go through the roof. But you can't expect Gen 1 tech, that relies on an expensive technology to run over the existing ICE market that's been refined and cost reduced for decades. JMHO...
        bluepongo1
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Giza Plateau
        Here's something in your price range: 1) carbon fiber = light :) 2) low drag ( depending on wheel / axel combo ) = aero :) 3) safety equipment optional = lower price, light, and a tuner platform :) 4) additional power upgrades optional at your tech level = less money and R&D (which poor people think is free and instant, yet they own no patents. ) 5) European styling = fancy ( For people who must tell everyone how poor they are on safe/quality car threads and that everyone has to drive a commuter clown car because of it's utility in their uninspired lonely life.) :)>===> htttp://www.carbonfibergear.com/all-carbon-fiber-boards-from-ixo/
          brotherkenny4
          • 1 Year Ago
          @bluepongo1
          And, a sports car is not an indication of a small inadequate member. SUVs are not driven by frightened people. A man who drives a pick-up truck as a commuter is not a moron. The total worth of any individual depends primarily on the car that they drive.
      Grendal
      • 1 Year Ago
      Somebody's gettin' rich.
      brotherkenny4
      • 1 Year Ago
      Doesn't anyone want to mention that this Syrian war thing is just Obama's attempt to raise prices on oil so his green energy agenda can be carried out. Or, is it difficult for those that would normaling rant that mantra to choose between low oil prices and a good war?
        Sasparilla Fizz
        • 1 Year Ago
        @brotherkenny4
        Yeah, this one doesn't pass the common sense test nor the history test for this administration - it passes the hate test but that's about it. Any administration and party in power wants low oil prices, because that is like a big tax cut for the economy and the biggest way to stay in power is to have the economy going well - if you take over in the midst of the biggest financial crisis since the 29' crash you especially want the economy to do well. So that is why the current administration has placed bets on everything. They massively expanded coal production on Federal Lands (twice now) since they came into power, they massively increased Gulf Oil production permits right before the BP crisis blew up in their faces (without getting anything from the oil companies at the time - they had to backtrack then because of the PR flap), they approved the 1st two tar sands pipelines from Canada (Keystone 1 & Alberta Clipper) just months into office, they have supported the massive increase of fracking production of natural gas and oil. In amongst this they also have supported wind and solar as well (but they are piddly amounts compared to what goes on with fossil fuels at this point). So, no, they don't want oil to go up - they want it down, so the economy does well and the Dems have a better chance of taking back the house and keeping the Senate. The deal with Syria is someone is using an outlawed type of weapon (weapon of mass destruction) and there is a side in the administration that wants to make it so this doesn't go any further (or is viewed by other regime's as a viable weapon choice and become popular and easy for Al Queda to get as they've said they want these weapons).
        Marco Polo
        • 1 Year Ago
        @brotherkenny4
        @ brotherkenny4 Syria's meagre oil production is of no consequence to the US. It's extremely difficult to understand why the US would become involved in what is essentially a civil war with very few discernible political factions compatible with Western values. The US (and the West should butt out and allow this nation to resolve it's own internal conflicts in it's own way. Very few nations have been free of civil conflict, and even fewer civil wars have been improved by the interference of foreigners.
        EZEE
        • 1 Year Ago
        @brotherkenny4
        Wait what...I don't even
      EZEE
      • 1 Year Ago
      Honestly, what did we think would happen? Two countries, a billion each, and for years we said, 'oh hai, a free economy doesn't suck and sh*t, give a try kthxbai.' (Those were Kennedy's words). So they did to sme extent, and it worked, and now the people are all, 'oh neat, cars and sh*t. And central heating doesn't suck either.' Did we expect them to continue to only ride bikes and use oxen in the fields? Sort of the biggest 'duh' ever.
        DarylMc
        • 1 Year Ago
        @EZEE
        Hi Ezee I can tell you there are plenty of people in China with cracked up hands and faces from living in continuously cold conditions. Maybe it's like that in the USA too, me not knowing any better. Frankly I don't know why humans chose to settle in cold climates but I have a theory that it gave them lots of time to think about important things like food and booze and sex and clever technology to escape the cold:)
          EZEE
          • 1 Year Ago
          @DarylMc
          I think about sex....
          Marco Polo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @DarylMc
          @ EZEE " I think about sex...." Well, that takes care of keeping warm.......
      EZEE
      • 1 Year Ago
      Will the USA still get blamed, or might we see a protest against someone else for a change?
      2 wheeled menace
      • 1 Year Ago
      We gotta get our #1 polluter title back... ;)
        DarylMc
        • 1 Year Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        It is obvious that people with more money will be the biggest consumers of resources. So yeah, no one would desire to be at the bottom of the ladder.
      CadiVetteFerrari
      • 1 Year Ago
      And this is why USA and EU have been pushing for higher mpg averages. They are doing the right thing
      bluepongo1
      • 1 Year Ago
      Enjoy your pollution bubble and getting gouged on gas... it won't get cheaper.
      Ryan
      • 1 Year Ago
      But all of those 'outsourcers' and Wal-Mart shoppers in the 80s and 90s got to make a few more dollars...way to go guys. Now it is normal and we are living with the consequences.
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