Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Here's a slightly more detailed look at OECD oil consumption than last week, based on the EIA monthly data. Here's the history since 1990, broken down into three major regions (the US, Europe, and everywhere else in the OECD: Japan, Korea, Canada, Anz, etc).
Consumption peaked in 2005, fell into the great recession, recovered briefly, and then has been falling slowly again for the last three years. That last fall is at a rate of a little less than half a million barrels a day for each year:
The regional decomposition of this decline is telling:
US oil consumption is falling; the US economy is growing slowly, but the US is growing more oil efficient faster than that. Europe is contracting economically, and this shows up in sharp falls in consumption. Meanwhile, the rest of the OECD is doing somewhat better economically and it's oil consumption is growing.
Probably the largest prospect for a near-to-mid term exogenous change in this situation is if European policy were to turn around and become less austerity focussed so that Europe could begin to recover. That would likely slow or end the decline in European oil consumption. Of course, higher oil prices would likely drive all regions to conserve more rapidly.