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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3 Responses 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.

  2. sheila chambers says:

    Of course “demand” is growing, our population is keeps growing but as the cost of extracting oil rises, it’s price will also have to rise & that will cause a decline in demand as fewer people can afford those higher prices.
    But we can only reduce our oil consumption so much, first we will cut non essential items like cell phones, eating out, toys, gizmos & gadgets will lose out, then expensive food items like meat & fish will be reduced or removed from many peoples diet, the economy will not like this reduction in consumption so unemployment will rise further cutting consumption even more.

    In any rational government, they would be rationing oil now, banning oil for yard maintenance, recreational vehicles & other non essential uses giving priority for law enforcement, the military, agriculture, emergency services etc, private automobiles would be last in line for fuel.

    But the USA doesn’t have a rational government so PRICE will dictate who & what gets the remaining oil & fuel & in the US the rich, the government, the military & law enforcement will get theirs first.
    They will probably have to use force to keep control over the “pee ons”.

    A rational government also wouldn’t even be considering banning abortions & birth control & forcing females to have infants they do not want or can afford.
    The result of forced pregnancy & birth are likely to be abused & abandoned & more women will again die from illegal abortions.

    • “Of course “demand” is growing, our population is keeps growing but as the cost of extracting oil rises, it’s price will also have to rise & that will cause a decline in demand as fewer people can afford those higher prices.”

      News reports state Russian Air Force has managed 600 air raids indiscriminately bombarding Southern Syria in 15 hours period since yesterday.

      Syria is not alone in this nightmare. Yemen, Iraq, Libya and others are all in the same situation: a reality where domestic fossil fuels comes down to Zero, decade in decade out, owing to war and conflicts.

      Demand for fossil fuels supplies must increase over time, **NOT** because overpopulation only, where 2/3rd of all World population hardly burn any fossil fuels in the style we practice in developed world, if at all.

      **What is the real reason behind the ever-increasing demand, then?** Wear and tear eating alive the vastly grown industrial, communication, political, military and economical base we are building since the 1700’s steam engine.

      The fresh volume of engine oil you apply after 15000 KM travelling in your family car is the same oil put before leaving the production line. This means every 15000 KM, all drivers worldwide practice re-manufacturing their cars, partially.

      This is a universal across all energy-producing devices – power plants, digital networks, weaponry systems and the whole engine we call: civilisation.

      When most of nations today are living, from cradle to grave, fossil fuels-less, solely attributing ever-increasing fossil fuels demand to them is a misleading proposition, whether made consciously or unconsciously!