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Gasoline Demand in Japan Drops In 2006 For 1st Time In 32 Yrs

Demand for motor gasoline in Japan declined 0.9% (as measured by calendar year shipments minus end of year inventory) to 60 million kiloliters (15.9 billion gallons US) in 2006—the first year-on-year drop in 32 years—according to data released Wednesday by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

Within the total, demand for premium gasoline fell even more sharply, dropping 5.6% year on year to 10.1 million kiloliters (2.7 billion gallons US). Demand for diesel rose 0.1% to 40.2 million kiloliters (10.6 billion gallons).

The Petroleum Association of Japan has projected that domestic gasoline demand would start to decline in fiscal 2008 as the population ages amid a lower birthrate. But with higher crude oil prices, the decrease occurred sooner than expected, according to The Nikkei. Oil distributors may face a surfeit of output capacity.

Gasoline consumption is falling because of an increase in minivehicle sales as well as the spread of gasoline-electric hybrids, according to The Nikkei.

Total domestic auto sales in Japan fell 1.9% in 2006 to a 20-year low of 5.73 million units in 2006. By contrast, minivehicle purchases rose 5.2% to exceed 2 million units for the first time. The minivehicle figure was up for the third year in a row. Minivehicles now account for 35.3% of total new-automobile sales by volume in Japan.



How much does gas cost in Japan?

Rafael Seidl

Neil -

Last I read, around $4.50 a gallon.

fyi CO2

"as the population ages amid a lower birthrate."
Unfortunately, the exception to populations on this planet.


fyi CO2:

Actually the birthrates in many Western European countries have declined to highly anemic levels. One of the major exceptions to the generalization that highly developed countries have very low birthrates is the United States, which has a moderate birthrate. Birthrates tend to be highest in the poorest countries, not the most energy-hungry ones.


What is a minivehicle ? - A Kei car ?
The Japs are very rational consumers with very crowded cities - and excellent public transport.
They, at least, have transport options.
It is one thing owning a car ( as most people do in Japan) - it is quite another to drive it - in a Japanese city.


Gas in Tokyo is currently about JPY130 per litre or about $1.10 per litre. I was driving in downtown Tokyo yesterday and we commented that nearly 50% of the cars were taxis. All running on LPG. That is, not that many people generally use their cars during the week. Mini cars or "Kei" Cars have engine capacity of 660 cc max and have lower road tax creating an incentive to buy them. They cost about $10,000 new and are pretty spacious. Driving in Japan with the standard GPS fitted in most cars is actually pretty easy. I used to enjoy it until I started reading this web site. Now I feel too guilty and just catch the train. I clocked up about 4000 kms last year. Another disincentive to owning a car in Japan is that you have to pay at least $200 per month to park it where you live and there is no free parking anywhere on Japanese streets. Everyone uses the train, walks and there are few fat people here. And the food is great!

FYI co2

Thanks for the perspective, TokyoJoe.

NBK, I am aware of the birth rate in Europe and the lower population trendline in richer countries; this is still the exception on our overwhelming poor planet.


Declining population growth is general trend, not an exception. For developed countries their population is either already declining, or will begin to decline in couple of years. Some relief for US, Canada, Australia, France, and GB is provided by immigration, or initially higher birth rate in families of new immigrants.

Population in Japan, S. Korea, Russia, Norway – and many other countries is declining at alarming rate. It is, actually, matter of grave concern to their governments and people.

Population growth is practically stopped in China. Significant reduction in birth rate demonstrate India, Egypt, Brazil, Mexico, etc. This is the reason why UN predicted that global population will stabilize around 2050 at about 9 billion, and then begin to decline. Information on the web is plentiful to one who cares to check it before posting.

But I understand concerns of fyiCO2. Every human being emits about two thousand pounds of carbon dioxide per year just by breezing, not to count how much fuel is spent to support it. It is clearly not sustainable.


The only reason the us isnt declining in population is immigration on a vast scale. In fact its soo vast americans essentialy arnt americans anymore I think the figure was between 8 and 10 million a year and we only have 300 million peopleso you dod the math;/

Paul Dietz

Global population growth peaked in percentage terms a generation or more ago. It peaked in absolute terms about a decade ago, IIRC. Demographic momentum is keeping populations growing for a while in many countries (such as: most industrialized ones) even as, in those countries, the total fertility rate (lifetime average number of children per female) has dropped well below 2.

Japan is interesting in that it was one of the first countries where the population aged enough that demographic momentum exhausted itself and the actual population began to decline. Reversing this trend will take a while, if it is possible at all.


Only in the large cities of Tokyo, Osaka, and maybe Sendai is parking expensive. In other areas quite a few Japanese people own cars and use them.

BTW- Japanese of today are much heavier than the Japanese of 30 years ago so they are getting fatter. It is just harder to notice when that extra mass is on such a small initial frame.


Everytime I travel to Japan (usually once a year), there is a noteable increase in the number of overweight people. It seems worse in the countryside. Just a personal observation, but it does seem to (not surprisingly) correlate inversely with the cost and positively with necessity of car ownership.


Sorry not necessity but incidence of car ownership.

John L.

Kudos to Japan for reducing its demand for gasoline!

Posted by: Paul Dietz | Feb 1, 2007 8:34:34 AM:

> Japan is interesting in that it was one of the first
> countries where the population aged enough that
> demographic momentum exhausted itself and the actual
> population began to decline. Reversing this trend will
> take a while, if it is possible at all.

Let's remember to ask another question, besides "is it possible." And that question is, "is it desirable?"

Until global population levels stabilize, and that time is still decades away, then no country should be trying to increase its birth rate. Got a labor shortage? Import immigrants.

Stan Peterson

Of all the blogopshere, I would think that that this one would have the most realistic views on CO2. Almost 80% of the liguid fossil fuels go into car and truck fuel tanks and burned.

All of you see and know that the ground transport function is changing dramatically and not a hundred years from now but in the next few exciting years. BEVs, HEVs, PHEVs, FCVs aree all coming; not as fast as we'd like maybe, but not far off at all.

Petroleum use in all its manifestions as gasoline, or Deisel, extended with bio this or etho that, will plunge dramatically as the electrification and the efficiency of cars and trucks climbs.

So why are so many of you still buying in to the nonsense that the worlds temperature might be a degree higher in 100 years? Those projections are only true, if we return to the age of the gas guzzling dinosaurs.

We all know that we would never allow that to happen, either.

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