Oil Consumption Continues Slow Growth

Joe Monfort | Mar 26, 2008

Global demand for oil reached 85.7 million barrels per day in 2007, a modest 1-percent increase over the 84.9 million barrels consumed daily in 2006.1 (See Figure 1.) This marked the third straight year in which oil demand grew at an annual rate of less than 2 percent.2 Despite the slow growth in demand, oil prices rose from just above $50 in January to near $100 at year’s end—close to the all-time inflation-adjusted price record that was reached in the early 1980s.3

The United States continued unchallenged as the world’s single largest oil-consuming nation in 2007, using almost one fourth of the global total at a rate of 20.7 million barrels daily.4 But U.S. oil consumption was virtually unchanged for the third year in a row, as rising oil prices discouraged demand despite three years of steady economic growth.5

China increased its petroleum consumption by 5.5 percent in 2007, up from 7.3 million barrels per day in 2006 to 7.7 million barrels.6 It now accounts for nearly 9 percent of the world’s total oil use.7 Over the past decade China has nearly doubled its oil consumption, and the share of global oil used by all nations that do not belong to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has increased from 37 percent in 1997 to almost 43 percent in 2007.8 Other top consumers in 2007 were OECD-Europe at 15.4 million barrels and Japan at 5 million barrels daily.9 (See Figure 2.)

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