Who’s buying oil?

We hear much about foreign countries driving up the price of oil due to their increased purchases.  N.C. State University economist Mike Walden gives some statistics on this trend.

“Well … four of the fastest-growing countries in the world are China, India, Brazil and Saudi Arabia. And recently, for the first time ever, collectively those four countries are consuming more oil than the United States. Ten years ago, the U.S. consumed twice as much oil as these countries.  Now they’re consuming as much as we are – and, in fact, they’re going to be consuming more.

“China alone, for example, this year is consuming just shy of a million more barrels of oil monthly than it did last year. So, what this means is when people — drivers — look at gas prices, they look at gas prices going up.

“Increasingly what’s driving those prices is out of our hands. It’s increasingly not related to how much driving and how much buying of oil we’re doing, because other countries are really taking charge.  And in some sense all we can do in the U.S. — and all drivers can do in the U.S. — is react to the higher prices.”

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