Canadians are the world’s eighth-largest energy consumers, sucking up about 7 per cent more energy than Americans, according to research from OilPrice.com.
On average, Canadians consume the equivalent of 7,333 kg of oil per year, compared to 6,793 kg per capita in the U.S. (That includes energy from all sources, expressed as kilograms of oil.)
“While many equate Canada's energy sector with the oil sands, it is, in fact, other forms of energy that account for the lion's share of consumption,” OilPrice.com reports.
“Over half (57.6 per cent) of Canada's electricity comes from hydro, with coal the second most popular choice at 18 per cent. Nuclear is third (14.6 percent), with oil and gas comprising just 6.3 per cent and 1.5 per cent, respectively.”
Inefficient use of energy can have a major economic cost, especially when prices rise. Scotiabank earlier this year estimated that the rise in gas prices seen in the first half of the year sucked $4 billion out of the rest of the economy. Spending on energy, as a percentage of household spending, hit a record high in Canada this year.
OilPrice.com's data confirms what many others have been saying: Canada is a laggard when it comes to energy efficiency. A 2012 survey from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) ranked Canada 11th out of 12 countries on efficient use of energy.
The list of the world's top energy-guzzling countries is heavily populated by Middle Eastern nations with large supplies of oil, but the number-one most energy-guzzling country may be a bit of a surprise: Iceland.
The North Atlantic island nation is blessed with an “overabundance” of hydroelectric and geothermal power, and that makes Icelanders “some of the planet’s least energy-conscious” people, OilPrice.com says.
The conclusion, then, seems to be simple: Countries with a lot of energy waste it. Including, apparently, Canada.