In today’s press conference, Obama indulged in a number of half-truths about energy (no doubt fed to him by Secretary Salazar), including the old canard about Americans using 27% of the world’s oil but only representing 2% of the population. That one had always gotten my goat, because the message associated with this statistic has always been that Americans are horrible and irresponsible wasterels (insert here blame of capitalism, greed, Republicans, gun-toting white males, fundamentalist Christians, Zionist, or whatever) and must therefore immediately submit to any diktat on controlling energy use.
Seems to me, the issue is not the discrepancy between the population and oil usage, but between production capacity and oil usage. As of 2007, the United States still represented about 21% of the world’s manufacturing capacity.
Thus, instead of us evil Americans using 13.5 times (27/2) more energy than the world average, we really top out at 1.28 times (27/21).
So we’re not as evil as we’re portrayed to be.