OPEC Is Getting Worried: Keep Up The Good Work!

New evidence has emerged that the US economy is becoming less oil intensive (caveat: this does not infer lower carbon intensity - that would require less coal to be used). We wish we could attribute this good news to increased popularity of Mass Transit, Hybrids, Bicycles, and Bio-Diesel; but, that's a tactic we'll have to leave to the politicians. Here are the facts. Upstream Online is reporting, today, that "World oil demand was weaker than expected in the first half of 2006 as a result of increasingly efficient use of oil limited consumption, oil producers' group OPEC said in a report...US gasoline demand "grew by only 0.7%, well below the annual average of 1.6% despite the stabilization of gasoline prices"..".Meanwhile, "developing countries, which account for 92% of world oil demand growth, are expected to see incremental demand of 0.6 million bpd for the year,..." " TreeHugger translation: we in the US drove our SUVs and trucks less; and, we stayed close to home when we did drive. OPEC is no doubt hoping that developing nations will keep sucking it up. A conspiratorial framing would have OPEC reps lining up at Washington DC's 'K-Street' to see if they can help overcome the California Effect. Or, buying up SUV inventories to keep the dying Detroit business models afloat. Or, wailing about a "Plan B" for Kyoto mistreating the world's poor. That old and discredited line of thought maintains that only economic growth in developing economies can 'float every ones boat'; and, oil consumption is the 'engine for growth'. Need proof of the speciousness of that reasoning? Japanese and European economies are already far less 'oil intensive' than are the North American ones. Japanese cars are in the market share passing lane, blowing by the Detroit muddlers. Photo credit: Upstreamonline.com