Do Americans use the most energy?

“The United States is a highly developed and industrialized society.
We use
a lot of energy.”

U.S. Energy Information Administration


The Evidence

    Source: Key World Energy Statistics, 2001, IEA

  • In synch with emissions figures, the U.S. consumes a quarter of the world’s energy. Rich countries are all above-average users, but the American way of life is remarkably demanding of fuel: lots of lighting, air conditioning and zipping around in big vehicles.
  • Although the U.S. taps its own coal, oil and natural gas, it consumes about 30% more fuel than it makes, a gap that’s likely to bet bigger. This shortfall has big, nay, huge implications for American foreign policy.

California Dreamin’
For the time being, America can sustain its energetic lifestyle through its global power. Whether planet Earth can support other countries’ energy aspirations is doubtful. Ballooning Chinese (and Indian) demand for energy will be a geo-political hot button of the next twenty years.

Barring a national emergency, it’s hard to imagine America going on an energy diet. But consider California, which years ago toughened heating and lighting standards in new construction and boosted incentives for using renewable power. As a result, energy use per Californian fell from 80% of the U.S. average to 50%. If the rest of the nation followed suit, America’s electricity bill would be halved and net demand for Middle East oil would be zero. In other words, kicking the habit isn’t a matter of technology, just leadership.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, we do use the most energy but it's not just squandered as you portray here. This is a huge nation geographically and unfortunately we do not have the rail systems many others have.

We also have myriad climates that do require energy to stay livable. Yhis country grows and grows in population and as it does we move into more inhospitable land.

The energy diet has already begun and just in this past month the drop in US demand has lowered our at the pump prices. We need more tax incentives for us to truly do up the town with solar heat which is still a way too expensive proposition for middle Americans.

The SUV's are being dropped like hot cakes and the only way we can get hybrid cars is to put our names on months' long waiting lists.

I do sense that the people at large have a much firmer grasp on this problem than do our politicians -- of both parties.

6:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Yes, we do use the most energy but it's not just squandered as you portray here. This is a huge nation geographically and unfortunately we do not have the rail systems many others have.

We also have myriad climates that do require energy to stay livable. Yhis country grows and grows in population and as it does we move into more inhospitable land.

The energy diet has already begun and just in this past month the drop in US demand has lowered our at the pump prices. We need more tax incentives for us to truly do up the town with solar heat which is still a way too expensive proposition for middle Americans."

I say:

Oh please! Not squandered?!!! People take it completely for granted here in the Dallas metroplex--UNLESS they have to pay an average of 5 extra bucks at the pump. Then they stir up a storm about it.

Unfortunately, higher energy costs are the *only* way to solve the problem, and most Americans complain to their politicians when this happens.

As for solar energy, check out Northern Industrial Tools. You can buy enough panels to run 75% your household for the price of a modest new home theatre system, which middle class Americans AL-ways seem to find a way to afford these days... along with Ti-vo and Netflix.

I know people in my area who could take the DART rail to work downtown and be there in HALF the time it takes to sit in morning traffic. But, you know what? They choose to drive their cars instead and foolishly sit in traffic! I love my gas-guzzling friends, but A-MEN to higher gas if it spreads a little common sense.

11:41 AM  

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