Why do Canadians use so much oil?

Climate, resource extraction, large transportation sector contribute to high oil consumption

Canada is the third largest consumer of oil per person among the world’s most economically advanced countries (the OECD), according to the National Energy Board.

This is primarily due to the transportation sector, which accounts for 60 per cent of Canadian oil demand.

The relatively sparse population, number of vehicles on the road, and the long distances people and goods must be transported to cross the country may explain Canada’s relatively high transportation fuel consumption per capita.

The industrial sector accounts for nearly 30 per cent of Canada’s oil demand. Canada has relatively large mining, oil and gas extraction, and manufacturing sectors, which tend to be oil-intensive.

Lastly, the commercial and agricultural sectors combined make up 9 per cent of oil demand while the residential sector is 2 per cent.

These sectors use oil-based fuels for heating and electricity, with increased demand during the relatively cold, dark Canadian winters.

All of these factors paired with a relatively small population contribute to Canada’s high oil use per person.

Many factors can contribute to determining a county’s per capita oil consumptionConsumption includes internal consumption, refinery fuel and loss, and marine bunkering. Also included, where available, is direct combustion of crude oil.

For example, in the U.S., a large transportation sector and high level of vehicle ownership contribute to higher oil consumptionThe transportation sector is the largest final energy consumer in the U.S.

South Korea consumes a lot of oil for manufacturing and refiningSouth Korea’s manufacturing and transportation sectors are the largest energy consumers. A significant proportion of South Korea’s final energy consumption is from oil.

Luxembourg’s transportation sector accounts for 88 per cent of total oil consumption especially freightWith a relatively small population, this results in high oil consumption per capita. Luxembourg’s transportation sector is the largest energy consumer. Its residential sector also uses a high proportion of oil.

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