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Page added on April 24, 2010

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Debunking Peak Demand

Consumption

The notion of ‘peak demand’ is often invoked to suggest that the US or global economy is somehow less in need of affordable oil today or that Americans are simply finding car ownership passé. But is this really the case? Are we weaning ourselves from dependence on oil? The statistics paint a more nuanced story. It is fair to say that consumption in most of the OECD countries has peaked. In fact, consumption peaked in Germany, France, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom in 1979—more than 30 years ago. Per capita consumption also peaked in the United States and Canada in 1979, although total consumption has increased as a function of population growth. So, by some measures, peak demand in the advanced economies is nothing new—it occurred more than a generation ago.

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