Chinese Oil Demand

Stuart Staniford notes that the number of trucks and passenger vehicles in China has been growing at about 23% each year.

Vehicle growth rates for U.S. and China. Source: Early Warning.
china_vehicle_growth_jun_11.jpg

You don’t have to extrapolate that too far into the future to come up with a pretty scary picture.

Number of vehicles in U.S. and China. Source: Early Warning.
china_vehicle_level_jun_11.jpg

Is that a silly extrapolation? Stuart notes that the plot for 2015 would still leave the U.S. with 7 times as many vehicles per person as China. And the level of oil consumption per person in China today is 1/3 the current oil consumption per person in Mexico ([1], [2]). No question, there’s potential for a lot more growth in demand from China.

What’s substantially less clear is where the oil to fuel those cars could come from.

This post originally appeared at Econbrowser and is reproduced here with permission.