Juan Cole recites liberal meme #34: the US is an oil hog, consuming over 20% of the world’s oil, and having only 5% of the world’s population.
Is that the correct measure? No. People don’t eat or drink oil. Oil is used to produce things, so the proper measure is GDP (specifically GDP, since GNP would measure oil used in other countries by American firms).
American GDP accounts for almost one-quarter, or 25% of the world’s GDP.
America actually uses its energy resources more efficiently than the world average. So, this isn’t an argument for oil efficiency, that we’re a “hog.” It’s an argument that the rest of the world needs to become more efficient.
We may be dependent on foreign oil, but many countries are dependent on our exports.
UPDATE: The feedback I’ve gotten on this ends up turning into comment about efficiency. Well, if we all used oil more efficiently, the country with the greatest GDP would still use the most oil. Our take of 10 barrels would still probably be 2.5, just as our take from several billion is 25%.
Unless of course you think it’s ok for other countries to pollute.
And anyone who thinks that I somehow support the energy policy of this administration should know better. I just think that this oft-repeated statistic doesn’t is silly.