Un freno a la sed estadounidense de petróleo

Estados Unidos consume un cuarto del petróleo mundial, comparado con el 8% que consume China. Incluso con el alto crecimiento que se espera en China en los próximos años, está lejano el día en que se agote el petróleo en el planeta. Existen más de un billón de barriles de reservas comprobadas, y es probable que se encuentren más. No obstante, dos tercios de las reservas comprobadas se encuentran en el Golfo Pérsico, y por lo tanto son vulnerables a la inestabilidad de la región.

En el pasado, los precios en aumento tuvieron un potente efecto sobre el consumo de petróleo de EE.UU. Desde los máximos alcanzados en la década de los 70, el consumo estadounidense de petróleo por dólar del PGB se ha reducido a la mitad, lo que también refleja el cambio económico general, desde la manufactura industrial a una producción con menor uso de recursos energéticos. Después de todo, es necesaria mucho menos energía para crear un programa de software que para producir una tonelada de acero.

A principios de los 80, los costos energéticos constituían un 14% de la economía de EE.UU. Hoy, son el 7%. Ajustados a la inflación, los precios del petróleo tendrían que llegar a los $80 por barril (o $3,12 por galón de gasolina) para alcanzar el nivel real registrado en marzo de 1981.

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