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Petroleum Consumption in China, India, Europe and the United States of America, 1980-2010

Total Petroleum Consumption
(1000 barrels per day)

Total Petroleum Consumption
(barrels per day per 1000 persons)

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), International Petroleum; Population data from: United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2011): World Population Prospects. The 2010 Revision. New York (
Note: 2009 and 2010 is estimated

These figures provide information about the total petroleum consumption in China, India, Europe and the United States of America. The figure on the left gives the total petroleum consumption in 1000 barrels per day. The figure on the right gives the total petroleum consumption in barrels per day per 1000 of the population (if divided by 1000 the number is equivalent to the per capita petroleum consumption per day).

As is obvious from these statistics (collected by the U.S. Energy Information Administration), the United States is still, by far, the largest consumer of petroleum among the four countries / regions: The United States is consuming more than six times as much petroleum as India, roughly twice as much as China, and a fifth more than the 37 countries combined that are included in these statistics for Europe.

These discrepancies become even more apparent when analyzed in per capita terms: Each person living in the United States of America consumes about 2.5 times the petroleum than a person in Europe. Average per capita consumption in the US is nine times that of China and almost 24 times that of India.

These staggering differences in per capita petroleum consumption cannot be explained by differences in economic development alone. They are, in part, result of energy-inefficient life styles and technology in the United States of America. America's automobile fleet is still way behind in average gas mileage as compared to European or Asian cars and house technologies in the US, such as heating and cooling, are extremely energy inefficient. Houses are often poorly insulated, household appliances use more energy than necessary and heating and cooling devices are mostly based on outdated technology. For instance, typical windows-based air conditioners, which are used widely in the US, have seasonal energy efficiency ratings (SEER) of around 10, while split-systems used in Asia or Europe have SEER of 16 to 23.

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This data section was updated on 18 July 2011.

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Copyright 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 by Gerhard K. Heilig. All rights reserved. - 18 April 2012