Oil and growth: No oil for old countries

Oil and growth: No oil for old countries, The Economist, 24/01/2012

http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2012/01/oil-and-growth

I think my colleague* is right to take some encouragement from the latest Energy Information Agency outlook. As one would expect to occur amid a period of sustained, high oil prices, American oil consumption has fallen from 2005 while its production has risen. That, in turn, has led to a decline in the quantity of oil imports (though not necessarily or consistently in the value of imports, given the volatility in oil prices). A better balance between oil production and consumption is likely to be an important part of the process of adjusting America’s total current account balance. And given the havoc dear oil has wrought on the American economy in recent years, a better production balance is economically useful. Less consumption will mean less of a blow to demand when prices soar, and greater production will mean an American windfall that could conceivably help offset any decline in household spending.It’s difficult to get too excited about the figures, however, for a couple of reasons. The EIA does not project sustained drops in consumption of the sort seen since 2005; indeed, consumption in 2035 is expected to be more or less where it was in the early 2000s, when prices were quite a bit lower. And while I suppose it’s nice that CO2 emissions are expected to grow at a slower pace between 2010 and 2035 than they did between 1990 and 2005, a forecast of essentially no…

* Less of a menace from oil, The Economist, 23/01/2012 http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2012/01/american-energy-trends


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