Washington, D.C. – Global oil consumption reached an all-time high in 2010, hitting 87.4 million barrels per day (bpd), according to a new report from the Worldwatch Institute. The 3.1 per cent increase more than makes up for the brief decline in consumption caused by the economic crisis, the company said.

“Between the recession, the BP oil spill, and instability in the Middle East and North Africa, oil markets have been on a roller coaster the last few years,” said Saya Kitasei, co-author of the report. “When the dust settles, however, it is clear that the momentum of future market growth has moved to the developing world, where oil consumption did not miss a beat during the recession and shows no sign of slowing.”

Key findings from the report include:

– After falling 1.5 per cent between 2008 and 2009 due to the global financial crisis, global oil consumption recovered by 3.1 per cent in 2010 to reach an all-time high.

– In 2010, oil remained the largest source of primary energy use worldwide, but its share of this use fell for the eleventh consecutive year to 37 per cent. Responding to this falling demand, global oil production fell 2.1 per cent to 80.3 million bpd in 2009.

– One-third of the increase in consumption came from China, which now uses over ten per cent of the world’s oil.

– The Middle East remained the largest exporter of oil in 2010, at 35.3 per cent, followed by the former Soviet Union and the Asia Pacific region.

– Global proved oil reserves have been increasing since 1980 and reached an estimated 1,526 billion barrels in 2010.

– Canadian oil sands now contribute to around half of the country’s crude oil production and are expected to provide a growing share, but they are energy- and water-intensive to develop.

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