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April 13, 2010

Oil use

Although there is a big push for energy alternatives, oil is likely to remain a major fuel for a long time. What factors will drive oil usage in the near future?

Dr. Mike Walden, North Carolina Cooperative Extension economist in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at N.C. State University, responds:

"Well ... in answering this question it is useful to divide the world into what we call developed countries -- these are countries that have higher standards of living like the U.S., North America, Western Europe -- and developing countries. Those are countries who are involved in improving their standard of living: China, India, Eastern Europe would be examples of that.

"And what we have seen over the last 30 years is a real dichotomy here. Developed countries have actually improved their energy efficiency; they are actually using less oil per person than they were 30 years ago.

"On the other hand, developing countries, because they are developing so rapidly they are actually using more oil per person.
Now right now the developed world, countries like the U.S., Western Europe, still collectively use more oil.

"But the point here is that oil usage is shifting away from those developed countries to countries like India and China.

"The bottom line here is although the developed world, to continue to improve in terms of energy efficiency, may move away from oil to alternatives, oil usage is likely to continue to go up because of the growth of these developing countries and the fact that as they grow they are using a lot more oil."

Posted by deeshore at April 13, 2010 08:43 AM