Global oil demand grew 0.6% in 2012 and over the last ten years oil consumption grew at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.3%. With near term oil demand at a lower level then the trend for the past ten years suggests the pace in oil consumption is slowing.
According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), EIA the trend in oil consumption is pointing towards slower if not anemic growth. In the two largest areas, the US and Europe, demand is for oil is declining. While the increasing demand for oil in China and India is significant, the rate of growth is slower.
Figure 1 Global Oil Demand
In the US, oil demand declined 2.1% in 2012 and over the last ten years oil consumption is down 0.6%. The oil consumption trend in the US suggests the decline maybe more structural, particularly as vehicle fuel efficiency is improving and high oil prices may change consumer-driving habits.
Figure 2 Oil Consumption – Major Countries
While the economic weakness in Europe and moderating growth in China, it is not surprising to see weakness in global oil demand. The trend is lower oil consumption might just be the result of short term economic weakness.
Europe and the US account for over 37% of the global demand for oil and that demand has declined over the last ten years. While the US was down 0.6%, demand for oil in Europe was down 1.1% in the last ten years.
Figure 3 Oil Consumption Perspective
There is still strong demand for oil in China and India, but the rate of growth has slowed. China and India represent 15% of the global demand for oil. China and India have one-year oil demand growth rates below their respective ten-year rates.
Figure 4 Oil Consumption Trends
The bottom line is that is demand for oil has slowed and it maybe at a point where oil prices may soon reflect slowing demand.