Our population was 211 million in 1973 and 313 million in 2012. Our Gross Domestic Product was 4.95 trillion dollars in 1973 and over 13 trillion dollars in 2012, measured in real dollars.
Yet, Uncle Sam's thirst for oil is drying up, despite 102 million more Americans and a bigger GDP.
Demand for oil peaked in 2005, has fallen 14% since then, and is now lower than it was in 1973.
The fall in oil consumption is in its early stages, is already dramatic, and will go much deeper. Substitutes for oil like biofuels, nuclear, electricity, and natural gas are combining with growing fuel efficiency in formally oil guzzling vehicles to slash oil consumption.
To see how much oil substitutes can reduce oil consumption, just look at the role of oil in making electricity. Back in 1973, burning oil was a major source of electric power and a major part of total oil demand.
Today, the use of oil to make electricity has been reduced almost to zero, as nuclear power, natural gas, and other means of making power have displaced more expensive and dirtier oil in the electricity sector.