November 1, 2008

Petrol Consumption per Day

I stared at this chart (cropped from the Economist) long and hard and thought that I was misunderstanding things, but what it says is that the amount of petrol (or gasoline) consumed per day in the United States in 2003 was larger than that of all those other countries put together (click image to enlarge). It doesn't really square with the pie chart below.

If I've got this straight, the chart on the right is measuring gasoline consumption, whereas the pie chart is measuring oil consumption, not the same thing. But the nations listed on the right--Japan, China, Canada, Russia, Germany, Mexico, Britain, Italy, Iran, Australia, France, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Venezuela, India, Spain, Taiwan, South Africa, and South Korea--would seem to take up on the pie chart a proportional size in oil consumption about double the US. Even accounting for greater US use of oil in transportation, this seems not right.

Whatever the exact figures, there is undoubtedly a vast disproportion between US consumption and the rest of the world, as this historical chart of per capita CO2 emissions shows:

The reasons for the disparity in U.S. gasoline consumption and elsewhere in the world? Perhaps the following has something to do with it.

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