Global production of oil and natural gas has increased in recent years, and prices have been falling. This is not only good news for consumers in developed countries, but also for the poor in developing countries around the world. Increased energy use is essential in developing countries if they are to raise the living standards of the poor and grow the middle class. Even rapidly growing economies use much less energy than developed countries. For instance, India uses one-tenth as much energy per person as the United States and, despite decades of rapid economic growth, China still uses only one-third as much energy per capita. [See the figure.]
Special contribution by NCPA research associate Jiawen Chen.