The Need to Move Past Oil in One Graph

If you think oil will be cheap and plentiful in the future (which it won’t), perhaps this graph from Stuart Staniford will change your mind:

If we note that Chinese population is four times larger than the US population, and 2011 US consumption was almost 19mbd, we see that Chinese per-capita consumption is still only something like 1/8 of that of the US.  So there’s a lot of room to grow still.  Also, China is in the middle of building an expressway system that will be substantially larger than the US freeway system.

If, then, Chinese consumption were to continue to grow around 7% out through 2025, it would look like this:

That’s another 15mbd in the next thirteen years or so.  Just for China.

Let me reiterate: this is just for China. Not including India’s future demand for oil or any other nation.

Obviously this is a projection, something that Staniford recognizes and mentions in the post (which you should read), and may or may not become true. But the underlying principle of the graph is correct: unless we move to the next power source, the demand for oil will only increase as the world continues to advance economically, and the supply of oil in the ground is only growing smaller.

If you think oil prices are bad now, just wait until 2025.

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