In 1994, OECD reported that there has been a general increase in total energy consumption of 30% over the past 20 years. By 2010, OECD countries are expected to be consuming 30% more energy and nearly 20% more oil than in 1990.
North Americans use more energy and resources per capita than people in any other region. This causes acute problems for the environment and human health. The region has succeeded, however, in reducing many environmental impacts through stricter legislation and improved management. Whilst emissions of many air pollutants have been markedly reduced over the past 20 years, the region is the largest per capita contributor to greenhouse gases, mainly due to high energy consumption. Fuel use is high – in 1995 the average North American used more than 1600 litres of fuel a year (compared to about 330 litres in Europe).
Between 1979 to 1993, "energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product" dropped 19 percent across the Western nations. Whilst this sounds good – it's better than one percent a year – the GDP grew more than two percent annually. So total energy use continued to increase.