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World petroleum use sets record high in 2012

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

The global consumption of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, heating oil and many other petroleum products reached a record high of 88.9 million bpd last year, even though consumption in North America and Europe declined. The record high was reached despite the above, as the decline was outpaced by growth in Asia and other developing regions.


In 2009, Asia became the world’s largest petroleum consuming region/ Between 2008 and 2012, the region’s consumption has increased by 4.4 million bpd. The fast paced industrialising of Asia’s economies of China and India has fuelled much of the demand increase, growing by 2.8 million bpd and 800 000 bpd respectively. If China’s petroleum product use grows as projected, it is expected to replace the US as the world’s largest net oil importer by the end of this year.

North America

North American petroleum demand is dominated by the US and has been declining since 2005. Major declines in petroleum product demand occurred in the US during the recession of 2008 and 2009, however, demand increased in 2010 due to improving economic conditions. Yet, a drop occurred once more in 2011 – 2012 as higher oil prices and increased fuel efficiency of light duty vehicles impacted demand.


Since 2006, European petroleum demand has decreased yearly. Part of the decline can be attributed to the reduction in overall energy intensity and government policies that encourage energy efficiency. Europe’s weak economic performance has also had an affect on petroleum use, with declines of 780 000 bpd in 2009 and 570 000 bpd in 2012 occurring at a time of slow growth and recessions in many European countries. 

Edited from various sources by Claira Lloyd.

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