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Old 10-11-2008, 11:55 AM   #1 (permalink)
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US Petroleum Consumption vs. Price Per Barrel

Thought this graph was interesting as it depicts US Petro Consumption over a 35 year period including cost per barrel over that same time (graph is attached to this post).

The current prevailing theory on most mainstream media outlets is that as prices per barrel increase Americans will in turn cut back on fuel consumption to counteract the price...WRONG...at least according to this graph. According to the graph only in times of extreme pricing or gas shortage do we Americans reduce our fuel consumption (oil embargo, war x2). Clearly, we don't care how much gas costs...we're buying it more and more every year.

Regardless of price (high or low), Americans have continued to increase consumption of petro for the past 20 years. I'd be interested to see this chart in 10-15 years to see how it plays out (based on current gas prices and the proliferation of EV's and PHEV's in coming years). IMO, while extreme global situations often stress the economy, families pocketbooks, etc. they do encourage progress and I believe our current "mess" will have some positive effects on progress within the energy industry (i.e. changing the way people think about fuel economy and energy independence...Personally, I wouldn't have searched for ways to cut my own fuel consumption and found ecomodder if gas wasn't $3+ a gallon...glad I'm on board)!

Please do not interpret this as me condoning or applauding war, global unrest, etc. Simply providing statistical info. with non-political comment while hoping the good ole' USA pulls our bootstraps up and learns something from our current situation.

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Old 10-11-2008, 01:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Nice find... I say that because I'm not knocking you in my next sentence

What I'd be interested in seeing is a per capita consumption graph. If everyone uses 40 gallons a month, and that drops to 38... But the population increases by 6%, that's nearly a 7% increase in consumption.

I personally have changed my habits of refueling. I apply my Self Rationing scheme to the trends in the cost of fuel. If I'm anticipating fuel to go down, I'll try to avoid refueling (and only refuel a partial tank). If I know fuel will go up for a significant amount of time, I'll fill the tank. That on top of setting rationing based on the state of my fuel gauge (unless prices will rise)
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Old 10-11-2008, 01:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Treb,

If you really want to get into the economics, cost, consumption and history of petro production I would advise visiting this site...It's got alot of interesting charts but, if you have the time, the commentary makes better sense of the charts and graphs.

History and Analysis -Crude Oil Prices

I poured myself into it last night to try and gain a better grasp on the big picture and history of gas prices, consumption, etc. I was thinking along the same lines as you when I started searching for the info but was trying to disprove the modern media theory that Americans are actually rationing their gas today (as a society) because of higher gas prices...bologna. IMO, we're not and haven't in the past regardless of the price of gas. In the chart I posted originally the only time we have lowered our consumption of fuel was when we couldn't get our hands on it.

Check out some of these on per-capita consumption...some of the numbers are hard to believe...but here's what I found...

2003 Daily Gasoline Consumption Per Capita By Country - Swivel

Peakoil.com :: View topic - America Wins in Petrol Consumption per Day

U.S. Per Capita Motor Fuel Consumption by State, 2005.png
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Old 10-11-2008, 02:00 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I'm expecting as the price per barrel drops, the consumption rate will increase or remain the same. This should be a temporary relief for everyone that chooses to drive low-efficiency machines to feed their black gold addiction. I fear the day the prices jump back up to Summer 2008 levels and people will once again cry to the skies -- "WHY GOD, WHY????"
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Old 10-11-2008, 02:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Wow, wtf is going on in Wyoming?

Thanks for the links

Here's some data to mull over...
BTS | National Transportation Statistics

Alas, to see it in graph form, you need to do it yourself...

I did write a post awhile back that had this graph based on the BTS data



The y axis is gallons... Which is per capita car (not person). Note that in 1970 the first emissions legislation was enacted (put into effect in 1975).

MPG data to go with that
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Old 10-11-2008, 02:32 PM   #6 (permalink)
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So based on the graphs you posted we should assume that for every car on the road the average car in the US consumes approx. 500-550 gallons of gas a year and gets roughly 17 mpg?...Interesting.

I'm a little foggy on "per capita car" which may include vehicles like shipping company truck fleets, taxis, etc? The gallons consumed and mpg seems to be in line with that I would have guessed. (Before finding ecomodder I was probably right around those numbers in consumption and efficiency).

As for Wyoming...my only guess is that there is more open space which means people have to drive farther to get where their going (work, grocery store, etc.). It does seem a little crazy though!

Last edited by Matt Herring; 10-11-2008 at 02:35 PM.. Reason: Note: Didn't see the title of the chart in small type that referenced "passenger" vehicles
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Old 10-11-2008, 02:34 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trebuchet03 View Post
Wow, wtf is going on in Wyoming?
Small population coupled with major interstate through routes & popular tourist destinations? A good share of the cars travelling I80 probably fill up somewhere in Wyoming, as do a lot of the visitors to Yellowstone & Grand Teton. Similar to the reason several rural Nevada counties top the per-capita auto accident statistics: when the county only has a few thousand people, one tourist crash on US 95 makes a big number.
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Old 10-11-2008, 03:30 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Herring View Post
So based on the graphs you posted we should assume that for every car on the road the average car in the US consumes approx. 500-550 gallons of gas a year and gets roughly 17 mpg?...Interesting.

I'm a little foggy on "per capita car" which may include vehicles like shipping company truck fleets, taxis, etc? The gallons consumed and mpg seems to be in line with that I would have guessed. (Before finding ecomodder I was probably right around those numbers in consumption and efficiency).
It's passenger car only (which may include light trucks - it's been awhile since I put that together).

And, Doh! I misread my old post (which is why it didn't say passenger vehicle mpg) disregard those mpg numbers - that's for all motor vehicles (which does include commercial vehicles).

BTS | Table 4-11: Passenger Car and Motorcycle Fuel Consumption and Travel has the passenger vehicle data - it looks like the graph will have a similar trend, but offset higher leveling off around 22mpg.
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Old 10-11-2008, 04:14 PM   #9 (permalink)
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That's some good info to consider...I'm interested to see what data we have after the "EV/PHEV boom" on the horizon (10-15 years from now). We may be looking at significantly higher miles traveled and nice mpg!

Let's hope more people catch on to the ecomodder ways and utilize their vehicles to max. potential. Even if some of the "caveman" drivers get their butts in EV's they have to have some sort of positive impact to lower fuel consumption.
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Old 10-14-2008, 04:28 PM   #10 (permalink)
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There's also the possibility that $3/gallon isn't the "pain point" for a lot of people. Perhaps at $5/gallon, the majority of people will realize that they have to do something (e.g., change how they drive, get a more efficient car, modify their car to be more efficient, drive less).

Of course, it could also be that if prices creep up slowly enough, we won't notice to the point of actually changing anything. (Sort of like the "frog in boiling water" thing; change the temperature slowly enough and the frog doesn't appear to notice.) A similar effect can happen with faster price increases, if the price goes waaaaaay up and then comes down somewhat. Sort of like what has happened recently....

-soD

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