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China Overtakes U.S. In Energy Use

Jul 20, 2010

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Frank James

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The U.S. is no longer the single largest consumer of the world's energy resources. That distinction now goes to China, according to the International Energy Agency.

The IEA says that according to an analysis of its data for 2009, China, with a population of 1.33 billion compared with the U.S.'s 310.2 million, has outstripped the U.S.

It's been known for some day that this day would come. But it happened faster than was forecast because China was hurt less by the global recession than the U.S.

That it's taken until now for China, with its vastly larger population, to surpass the U.S. indicates how far the Asian nation still must go to reach the per-capita levels of consumption in the U.S.

Put another way, it's a measure of the still relatively low living standards for many Chinese.

Here's another way to look at it. Americans still use a lot more energy per capita than their Chinese counterparts.

While the per capita amount is slightly less than 7 million tons of oil equivalent (mtoe) in the U.S, it's just less than 2 mtoe for China.

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