December 11, 2014 | Bloomberg | Jeremy Scott Diamond, Lynn Doan, David Marino, Dan Murtaugh
Back in 2006, in his State of the Union address, President George W. Bush said America has to end its “addiction” to oil. Now Bloomberg.com has produced a fantastic data graphic that shows we may just be getting close.
With great animated visuals, the graphic shows that gas consumption is not responding in the way we would expect. Gas is cheaper, so Americans will use more, right? Nope. In fact, Americans are consuming less oil per dollar of GDP than they have in 40 years. Oil consumption used to keep pace with GDP growth, but no longer. Now, while GDP is rising, oil consumption is staying flat.
Why is this happening? There are a few theories: cars are more fuel efficient, baby boomers are retiring and getting off the roads, young people are moving to cities, and here’s the most interesting part — those young people take public transportation at double the rate of baby boomers. Nearly 20 percent of millennials are riding buses or trains to work, compared to nine percent of baby boomers.
In 2014, Americans produced nearly 90 percent of the energy it consumed, bringing us tantalizingly close to that holy grail of energy independence.