The following chart lends perspective on who is exerting the greatest demand on global oil supplies.
The source of the data is from BP and Nationmaster. The chart is from the Sudden Debt blog.
I have not yet found a version updated to 2008, but the relative demand of the players has not changed too much in 2 years.
We can see that North America and other developed countries are by far the greatest oil consumers. This is why suggesting that emerging market demand is the problem behind current prices is ludicrous. We westerners, and particularly in North America, have simply been gorging like pigs at a trough. It is actually embarrassing. For us to complain that emerging countries are causing the demand stress is the equivalent of obese people complaining that the malnourished now expect to share in the daily food supply.
The good news is that we can use less and survive quite happily. There are many bright innovations that can substantially reduce our consumption. We just need the political and individual will to make the right choices. If we could get government oil subsidies knocked off, oil would spike past $200 a barrel and there would be much greater incentive to implement immediate improvements for conservation and other clean energy options. I am 100% sure we can solve this issue, but people need economic incentive to change. $130 oil will be some incentive. Time will tell whether it will be sufficient to prompt permanent change. Perhaps more pain will be needed first.
Cory’s Chart Corner
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