Since 2000, U.S. oil consumption has edged down 4% to 19.2 million barrels a day. In the same period, the combined demand from Brazil, India, China and Saudi Arabia has risen 76% to 18.8 million barrels, nearly matching the U.S. By itself, China has more than doubled oil consumption to 9.4 million barrels, according to data from the International Energy Agency.
"In some respects, the Chinese are pushing us into small cars so they can consume more oil," said Stephen Brown, a professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and former energy economist with the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank.
When limited natural resources limit economic growth (or cause economic contractions) we enter an era of zero sum games. We will have to work harder and longer to get the commodities we need to run our economies and lifestyles. My advice: down shift to a lower energy lifestyle before you have to.
Where does this lead to? A return to old ways. Oxens save fuel on American farms. Though they use precious biomass. Oxens and work horses can not scale up. We will need to retain the ability to use automated equipment to operate farms.