Robert Rapier: Oil demand is growing, not shrinking. There is no peak oil demand in sight.

[ Yes, this article was published 10 months ago, but with all the attention to fake news today, I thought it would be worthwhile pointing out that peak demand is propaganda, not based on facts.

Since the goal of fake peak oil news is to prevent panic and social disorder, and there’s little governments or businesses can do to prevent a die-off during the transition from fossils back to biomass and muscle power (extreme overshoot of carrying capacity), I can’t help but wonder if I were in charge if I might also put out stories like this to keep fossil fueled civilization going as long as possible. Offering hope, such as renewables, carbon sequestration, and so on, is one way to hold things together as long as possible.  Why crash civilization before it will happen anyhow?  And why bother to tell people the truth since they won’t believe it anyway (best books on this: Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History, Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology, and the Fate of the Nation)

As an observer of the biggest and most tragic event in human history, past or future (until the sun expands and swallows the Earth anyhow), I am just one of many journalists following the story as it unfolds, and hope that future historians will find articles debunking peak oil demand of interest.

There have been dozens of articles about Peak Oil Demand and the end of Peak Oil lately, often due to electric cars or other technology saving us.  Here are just a few from 2017:

No, peak demand will happen because of peak oil when we’re forced to cut our demand as it declines exponentially at 6% a year.  In capitalist countries, it will be the poor first (already happening since the financial crash), then middle class, and finally upper middle class.  Even the rich won’t be able to continue driving whenever they want because social unrest will be so high they won’t dare leave the gates of their armed compounds.  Only the military will have oil to the very end…

The idea that electric cars are lowering demand is ridiculous. Electric cars haven’t made a dent, just a small scratch in oil demand.  Electric cars are only 0.2% of light-duty vehicles, and cost so much only the upper 5% can afford them, even with subsidies. 

Meanwhile, consumption of oil in developing countries is increasing at a fast pace.  There’s no sign of peak demand.  And they’re not buying electric cars in India, Brazil, and other nations where the electric grid comes down a lot.

Only in Europe is demand slightly dropping, but that’s because their governments are so much more far-sighted, less corrupt, and peak oil aware than nation’s elsewhere.  Europe began planning for oil decline decades ago, especially since they don’t have much oil of their own or a giant military to grab it from oil producing nations.  Mass transit is so fantastic and cheap in many European cities that people don’t  drive.   For example, in Munich, Germany, the rail, tram, and bus systems run very often, and we spent just 6 euros a day to ride their quiet and modern trains, trams, and buses.  When I came back to San Francisco, BART and other mass transit here looked like they were from a third world country, with their very infrequent service, filthiness, and on BART, enough decibels to harm hearing.

I suspect the peak oil demand idea is one more attempt by the wealthy and powerful to hide peak oil, because peak oil studies have shown that if peak oil were acknowledged, stock markets all over the world would crash since the economy would be shrinking from then on and debts couldn’t be repaid.  Credit would freeze and dry up.  Panic and social disorder would follow.  Michael Lynch and other analysts have been trying for years to quench the idea of peak oil and Lynch  even used to float his peak-oil denial theories on peak oil yahoo groups to learn what the counter-arguments might be.

Excerpts from Robert Rapier’s article below has factual statistics showing that oil demand is growing, not declining.

Alice Friedemann  author of “When Trucks Stop Running: Energy and the Future of Transportation”, 2015, Springer and “Crunch! Whole Grain Artisan Chips and Crackers”. Podcasts: Derrick Jensen, Practical Prepping, KunstlerCast 253, KunstlerCast278, Peak Prosperity , XX2 report ]

Robert Rapier. August 31, 2017. Oil demand is growing nearly everywhere. Forbes.

I broke down oil demand growth in the past five years (2011-2016) in various regions of the world. I chose the past five years, because those years have marked rapid growth in sales of electric vehicles (EVs). If the near-term peak oil demand hypothesis is true, you might expect to see a slowing of oil demand growth in regions with fast growth in EVs. (For more details on the peak oil demand hypothesis, see Peak Oil And Peak Demand Have Entirely Different Outcomes).

World-wide, oil demand has grown by 6,800,000 barrels per day (69% of that in the Asia Pacific). Consumption increased 16.1% in the Asia Pacific, 16% in Africa, 12.5% in the Middle East, 7.6% in the world, 4.7% in South and Central America, and 4% in the U.S.   Oil consumption only dropped in the European Union, by 4.1%.

Norway’s oil consumption grew 1%, despite being the leader in growth and total market share for electric vehicles (EVs).

My conclusion Is that outside of the EU, there are no clear cut examples of declining oil demand in the past five years. To the contrary, oil demand continues to increase in most regions of the world, including those with high growth rates for electric vehicles.

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One Response to Robert Rapier: Oil demand is growing, not shrinking. There is no peak oil demand in sight.

  1. I suspect if the added barrels were available there would be more than a 6.8mil barrel increase in demand.

    A wild, non-scientific guess would be we could use 120 mbpd.