An ever-increasing number of fuel efficient vehicles combined with changes in driving habits have contributed to reduced petroleum consumption in recent years in both North America and Europe. Despite this, global petroleum consumption is on the rise, according to the US Energy Information Administration. Global consumption of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, heating oil and other petroleum products reached a record high 88.9 million barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2012. Growth in Asia and other regions more than offset reduced consumption in the markets that used to lead the petroleum consumption race.
An EIA video (watch it below) tracks global oil consumption from 1980 to 2012. Asia was consuming about 10 million barrels of oil per day in 1980, and by 2012 that volume tripled to nearly 30 million barrels per day. North America had dominated the chart for years, but moved to second place behind Asia in 2009. Rapidly industrializing economies in China and India have been fueling the growth. China increased petroleum consumption 2.8 million bbl/d and India by 800,000 bbl/d between 2008 and 2012. China is expected to surpass the US as the world's largest oil importer this fall. That growth rate also has serious implications for carbon emissions. Governments in China and India are pushing for more clean transportation, but their economic booms are taking the lead.