BIC: Brazil, India, and California Total Petroleum Consumption

EIA Washington produces a ton of energy data that’s very current and detailed on global energy production. But what’s harder to come by is Non-OECD oil and oil product consumption. As the calendar turns to March, alot of the annual data starts to complete for the prior years, and I found my way deep into some EIA caverns tonight, and drew up the following chart:

The chart shows total oil product use for Brazil, India, and California in quadrillion BTU. Oil products are best measured in BTU–not barrels–as it strips out the vagaries of different products like Jet Fuel, Gasoline, Diesel, and Heating Oil. Also, BTU can be a better way to compare countries that import barrels, with states that generally import oil products. Here, I wanted to compare California with fast growing Brazil and India over a twenty year period. The trajectories are fairly unsurprising. Fuel efficiency standards have helped to keep California consumption relatively in check, in its path from 3.543 quadrillion BTU in 1988 to 2007’s 3.946 quadrillion BTU.

With regards to Brazil and India, a friend chatting to me from China tonight remarked that Brazil’s consumption growth might have been somewhat restrained by its ethanol program. If that’s true, it’s intriguing to conjecture what Brazil’s demand would look like without ethanol’s roughly 17% contribution to total Brazilian liquid fuel use. And in regards to India, one can’t help but note the big spike from 2004 -2007 as demand moved from 4.950 to 5.869 quadrillion BTU and not recall India’s push to complete their Quadrilateral Highway.

An ongoing project of mine relates to per capita consumption of energy in the developing world–yet another difficult area where data can be hard to secure on a current basis. There are a number of issues at play on that topic. Not least of which is the very different marginal utility of liquid energy in the developing world, compared to the developed world. As I look at today’s chart, however, I am struck by something simpler: the differences in population. India’s population is 1.139 billion, and Brazil’s 191.9 million. California is lilliputian by comparison, at 36 million. But it’s oil consumption is not. This only confirms my view that we (continue to) underestimate the demand reduction for oil that’s inevitable in the developed world, and the awesome potential for further demand increases in the developing world.

-Gregor

  • http://financetrends.blogspot.com FinanceTrends

    Interesting. Gregor, do you feel that California will have to drastically curtail its oil usage in coming years as the demand from developing countries meets restricted crude oil production? If so, how will Californians learn to adapt, given their car/sprawl culture (at least in So Cal)?

  • Aaron

    What happened in Brazil in 2002 and 2003? Why the dip?

  • Gerard Croce

    It would be interesting to have a retrospective of petroleum industry efforts to fight fuel efficiency standards in California over the last 40 years, and a chart showing the energy consumption if the fuel standards had not been passed into law.

  • Paul Wilson

    Very interesting. I notice it takes us only to the point where US crude consumption peaked around 2007. It would be interesting to see how even more dramatic the changes of the past couple of years make this graph look.

  • yield

    So if Indian demand reaches the same as California on a per capita basis it will need some 131 Q BTU's. I can't imagine thats actually possible ??

  • gregor.us

    The Jeff Rubin view is that OECD will inevitably use less oil, so the non-OECD can use more. I like that view but would tie it in to kind of a Global Jevons paradox whereby we become more efficient in the OECD, and this frees up supply to grow the global economy even more.

    As for California, they are so tragically exposed to the price of oil with long distances and highways that yes, they will have a painful transition away from oil.

    G

  • gregor.us

    The oil industry like many industries fights and advocates for things that it shouldn't even bother with. But yes, I think the chart posted here does show the effect of fuel standards.

    Now we have a new problem: the highways of California and the long distances are a kind of energy-sink. They are increasingly energy-negative and now deliver diminishing returns (economic cost of running them may have started to eclipse economic benefit)

    G

  • gregor.us

    I will be updating as soon as the data comes in. More recent data for some OECD countries come in before non-OECD countries, as you might imagine data collection for, say, Canada comes in quicker than for India.

    G

  • gregor.us

    That's right. It will never happen. It's just not possible, and we get to peak oil and energy transition long before that happens. That's why I think India made a huge mistake building the Great Circular. There simply is not enough oil for either India or China to replicate US vehicle use. However, the trajectory will go until it can't go any further.

    G

  • Adam Smith

    Fuel standards? As if people enjoy time in their cars and would like to sit in traffic all day every day, because its a fun thing to do? Commie bastards the lot of you. American's outside of Massachusetts drive because they get some where and then enjoy themselves, work a bit, obtain necessary or desired items. We have maximized the utility we get from our vehicles. Trucking is a different story, but discussing such a thing with you Roger Moorish pinko socialists is not a productive use of my time.

  • Adam Smith

    Fuel standards? As if people enjoy time in their cars and would like to sit in traffic all day every day, because its a fun thing to do? Commie bastards the lot of you. American's outside of Massachusetts drive because they get some where and then enjoy themselves, work a bit, obtain necessary or desired items. We have maximized the utility we get from our vehicles. Trucking is a different story, but discussing such a thing with you Roger Moorish pinko socialists is not a productive use of my time.