Africa, Asia and the Middle East drove nearly all growth in global energy consumption, between 2010 and 2016, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). The new data on global energy consumption is available in EIA’s International Energy Statistics database.
Energy consumption in Africa, Asia and the Middle East rose about 20% between 2010 and 2016, and the rise in the Middle East and Africa can be attributed to economic growth, increased access to energy markets and rising populations. The consumption rose in Asia while it fell in China, between 2015 and 2016. Asia and Oceania accounted for 42% of global consumption in 2016, compared to 6% in the Middle East and 3% in Africa.
In North America, energy consumption rose 1% between 2010 and 2016, and over the same period, it fell 4% in Europe. Globally, the most prevalent forms of energy consumed are petroleum and other liquid fuels, such as biofuels, which include ethanol and biodiesel. The rise in the use of these fuels has been supported by increasing supplies of U.S. shale oil and other international sources of liquid fuels that have kept prices competitive. Coal consumption globally has continued to fall as a result of competition from low-cost natural gas and some countries’ policies to limit or reduce coal use.
Coal accounted for nearly 50% of the energy consumed in Asia and Oceania, where China, India and Australia consume a large amount of coal. The largest amount of nuclear and renewable energy was consumed in Europe (26%), North America (19%) and Central and South America (26%). The regions, especially Europe and North America, have a large number of renewable resources and policies that encourage renewable energy use, such as wind and solar. Nearly all energy consumption in the Middle East comes from petroleum or natural gas.
China became the largest energy consumer in the world in 2009, and since 2013, the country has used about 40% more energy than the United States. Energy consumption in China has been flat since then as the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) has risen by more than 6% annually. Recently, energy consumption in India surpassed Japan, Canada and Germany. India’s GDP is rising at a rate of almost 8% annually. India is likely to surpass Russia as the third-highest energy consuming country, behind the United States.