Monday, January 12, 2009

Habits If Not Resisted Soon Become Necessity

That quote is certainly true about oil consumption. (NB: I have some questions about the data sets, so this post may be changed in the future.)

Here's per-capita use for some countries. America and Canada, two countries with large indigenous supplies, really drink in the black gold

Most countries are getting more efficient, producing greater amounts of goods and services for each barrel used. America, Canada, and Mexico are the least efficient users, along with Korea, which is once again an outlier. The UK is currently the efficiency champion.

This graph shows efficiency verses the United States. Germany, France, and Italy each produce about 60% more per barrel of oil consumed.

This graph is a plot of GDP per barrel vs. the cost of a gallon of gasoline. The relationship seems strong and is much stronger without Korea in the mix, but correlation is not causation.

Correlation of gas prices directly to per-capita GDP is weak with the full data set. After removing Korea and Mexico, the correlation becomes a moderately strong inverse one. But, once again, correlation is not causation. For instance, both the US and Canada have lower gasoline prices and higher per-capita output. However, the average workweek in the two countries is longer than in Japan, Germany, France, and Spain. And on the other side, workers in both Italy and Korea put in more hours than their counterparts in the US.

An important problem with these comparisons is that they are exclusively about oil. People and industries in other countries might be substituting other energy sources for petroleum. I will follow up on total energy soon.

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