Oil Consumption

(Source: Colin J. Campbell)


Energy Security.The production of oil in the US reached a peak in 1971, and has been declining ever since, except for a slight uptick in 2009-2012.

The fraction of net US oil imports has been rising, reaching 66.5% in 2007 before falling back to 61% in 2011 after the  Great Recession of 2008/2009. [Note that conservation efforts paid off after the 1970’s oil embargo, with imports dropping from 44.5% in 1977 to 27.7% in 1982, but rising inexorably thereafter to the peak of 66.5% in 2007.]

(Source: US Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration)

In 2011 43.7% of our imported oil came from Canada (23.8%) and Central and South America (19.9% excluding Venezuela) and 39.9% came from OPEC, but only 16.3% of imported oil came from the Persian Gulf. 54% of proved oil reserves are in the volatile Persian Gulf, with OPEC controlling approximately 81% of proved global oil reserves.

 (Source: US Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration June 2012 data)

Distribution of OPEC Oil Proved reserves

Note that OPEC now estimates that Venezuela has larger proven oil reserves than Saudi Arabia:

 [Source: OPEC]

Pollution. Oil scarcity and energy security are not our only threats.  Today the threats of global warming and urban air pollution add to the imperative to substantially reduce fossil fuel consumption in the decades ahead.


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