To Those Who Understand...

No explanation is necessary. To those who do not, none is possible.

US gasoline consumption in billions of liters per day vs. the 20 next largest gasoline consuming countries. Source: Foreign Policy "Prime Numbers: Pain at the Pump"


nzm said...

Say no more.

When I was there in 2001 and bought gas for a friend's car, I couldn't believe how cheap the gas was, in comparison to New Zealand and Australia. (We've been back lots of times since then, but haven't bought gas in those times.)

Is it still that way?

Maybe raising the price of it would make some of the less energy conscious people start to consider their habits and car choices.

Pandabonium said...

NZM - indeed. very unpopular to move against the "conrucopian" paradigm. Gas in the USA is the cheapest of all the countries which don't subsidize the price of gasoline, (Iran, Venezuela, Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia do subsidize it), and has the lowest total fuel taxes as a percentage of state spending.

As Dick Cheney says, "the American way of life is non-negotiable". To which I say, "Good luck. Reality will soon negotiate for you."

Increasing prices are already having some effect. Toyota is going to offer plug-in hybrids in 2010, which it rejected just two years ago. So is GM. Will it be too little too late?

K & S said...

wow! I never realized this, as I only drive when I'm back in the Islands. thank you for the wake up call!

Pandabonium said...

K & S - it boggles the mind doesn't it?

Martin J Frid said...

It is a very scary message to the rest of the world. No wonder they prefer to keep it less known. Thanks for posting it. As I searched the FP website, I wanted to learn more, but it was not clear where you found this.

Pandabonium said...

Martin - sorry. On the second page of the linked article is a similar graph that is labeled in gallons rather than liters. I linked to that article because it is the source of the data.

The graph I posted is a slightly altered image that was created by The Economist in the UK using data from the FP article. I just liked the colors better.

ladybug said...

Weaning US folks off of their unthinking gas guzzling ways will be difficult, if not impossible.

I keeping thinking of the folks in the rural areas...(at least in the cities you might have access to public transportation)...who will be stuck miles away from help and/or services.

I remember trying to explain to folks in Europe why we are so dependent on cars...only the ones who had visited really understood.

There are fewer and fewer places left with neighborhood access to services by foot or bike.

And the pace of life here has accelerated quite a bit. Everyone is working, getting to appointments, activities, trying to care for relatives that don't live nearby, have some kind of social life, etc.

One reason folks keeping patronizing Fast Food IMHO.

Pandabonium said...

Ladybug - "Weaning US folks off of their unthinking gas guzzling ways will be difficult, if not impossible."

I agree, but I hope they try. Otherwise, as a saying I have adopted goes, "the problem will solve itself, but not in a nice way".

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Hmmm. Makes us in Australia seem like angels but of course we guzzle petrol too.
I read this week that aerosols in the northern hemisphere are affecting the weather over here especially South Australia. Butterfly effect.
Global village - we all impact upon the other, but we don't seem to care too much do we?

Pandabonium said...

Wendy - it is difficult for individuals to put the common good ahead of their own immediate needs or wants. IMO that's a place where governments should step in to protect the "commons" - our environment - without which not much else matters.

A point I've pondered for some time is that while we humans have advanced technologically by leaps and bounds in recent centuries, our "wisdom" hasn't kept pace at all. Sad, even dangerous.

bonnie said...


that's very, very scary.

I'm so glad I live in a city with fantastic public transportation & like walking.

Not only does not having a car cut down on my gas consumption - I think it also cuts down on my consumption period.

When actually getting things home mean either carrying them, or going to the hassle of lining up delivery, you tend to think more about what you're buying.

Of course to start talking about consuming less of everything as being possibly a good thing - boy, that's really chipping away at the foundation of the A.W.O.L., isn't it?

How long ago was that zero-sum society book published?

And yet here we are still unable to get the idea that a finite planet just can't support infinite growth.

It really is too bad.

huh. If I ever move out of the city, there will be some city ways I'll have to try to hold onto.

Even just looking at something and thinking "If I had to carry this home, would I still buy it?"

Of course I think one of my first purchases if I left the city would be a bike.

BTW I originally came over to say you might enjoy my Where I'm From post. Fun exercise one of the sailing bloggers posted. But then I got all shocked and awed.

We really are crazy, aren't we?

Pandabonium said...

Bonnie - what you mean "we" Kimosabe?

Very nice post.

If you do leave the city, check out hybrid-electric bicycles, like my new Yamaha.

bonnie said...

I mean "we" as in "we Americans"!

Sorry all you non-gas-guzzlers!

That chart really is astounding.

I guess that's what happens when you have a country that's young enough & big enough that at the point that it fell in love with cars, there was enough room & building to grow in the sprawling way that a car culture permits. Older countries, maybe the general layout is just inherently less inconsiderate of the carless, since so many of the cities were laid out without cars being a primary consideration.

I'll keep the idea of a hybrid bike in mind. I've read some of your posts about biking around & it seems like a very good idea, lets you get around better than legpower alone, but still a hundred times better than a car.

bonnie said...

Oh, btw, in case it's not clear, I'm not saying car-driven development is good.

Quite the contrary. One of the great things about NYC is that it really is so clearly laid out for people, not machines.

Places where it's clear that everybody's just expected to be driving, the sidewalks are like afterthoughts, I find to be really offputting.

khengsiong said...

Gas is also heavily subsidized in my country (Malaysia) because the government wanted to help the 'national car makers'. But it ended up that Malaysians buy foreign vehicles and enjoy the affordable gas price.

A professor in my university drives a Toyota SUV too...

Pandabonium said...

khengsiong - thank you for visiting and for your comment. You have some great pictures on your blog, I recommend them to anyone reading this.

And now the Japanese PM wants to "help" Southeast Asia by building a network of highways across the Mekong delta. I assume so that they can all buy Toyotas! Crazy.

Thanks again for visiting. Come again.

TOR Hershman said...

You have a most interesting blog.

Pandabonium said...

TOR Hershman - Thank you.

Swinebread said...

We lost so much time with Bush, it's too late I'm sad to say.

Pandabonium said...

Swinebread - Carter made a big dent in US oil consumption but when Reagan/Bush came in, they pulled the solar panels off the White House roof and we've been going backwards on energy conservation ever since.

Happysurfer said...

Like KS said, gas here in Malaysia is subsidized but people are still feeling the pinch. Perhaps our low GDP has something to do with it. Although it's a good sign that people are using public transport.

PandaB, the graph gives me the shivers. Thanks for sharing it. Perhaps it's time to replace my high CC vehicle with something less gas-guzzling.

The Moody Minstrel said...

And the U.S. media is complaining about increasing oil consumption in China and India?

Then again, I remember the big property tax limitation measure campaign in Oregon in the 80s when all these people were coming out and whining that property taxes were making it impossible for them to make ends meet...and here they were out parading around in their expensive boats, planes, RVs, etc.. I think there are some seriously disjointed priorities at work here.

Pandabonium said...

Happy Surfer - I've read that your government will end the subsidy sometime this year which will be a big shock for a lot of people. The global peak of oil production was reached in 2005 and with demand from growing economies, the price of gasoline is just going to up in the future. A more efficient car is something to consider.

Moody - "we're number one" takes on a whole new meaning. We can't waste money on parks, schools and libraries, we've gas guzzling toys to full up.

Happysurfer said...

PandaB, you are right. The govt has given us warning.

The slightest news about gas increase will have people queuing up at gas stations. Many cars were filling up eve of New Year's resulting from a rumour that gas will go up by as much as 30sen. Nothing happened then. I have no doubt, it will happen this year.

Olivia said...

Well I never...! *speechless*

Britain's roads are overcrowded but then again you have to consider the distances covered and the weather.

UK: Shorter distances, longer drive times, and proportionately fewer cars.

US: Using air conditioning increases fuel consumption.

In the UK, if you drive the distance from Houston to El Paso (still in Texas), you'd fall off the end of Scotland but as the crow flies it would take you north of Oslo or just into Barcelona!

I speak for the place I know, which is Houston. Yeah I know, oil and gas capital. But seriously, if you don't drive you can't go anywhere. If you walk it's so hot you could die. Buses, trams and trains only run within the city proper because the suburbs are up to 30 miles out and people commute daily, whereas in England, if you live 30 miles outside of London you could go months without stepping food in the capital, and if you do commute (usually by train) it can take up to two hours and you're crazy.

Hopefully, the wind farm idea is taking off and it was my father's energy provider when he did live in Houston, and part of the California desert is being covered with solar panels...

Olivia said...

Stepping food in the capital??? I meant stepping foot.

And also, the UK distances are measured from London to Oslo/Barcelona.

Pandabonium said...

Olivia - "if you don't drive you can't go anywhere"

That is because of cities being planned around the car rather than public transport. In fact, the car industry did a lot to make sure public transport was left out.

City planning will have to change and that won't be easy for much of the US. The energy won't be there to keep doing things they way they are being done now.