China has topped the US as the biggest importer of oil in the world, according to government data released this week. It's more evidence of China's economic growth and America's shale drilling boom and increased efficiency, which has reduced its reliance on foreign oil.
China has edged out the US as the world's biggest oil importer.
The shift reaffirms China's ballooning growth and middle-class demand for cars and other amenities. Meanwhile, the US has slogged through five years of post-recession economic malaise. Americans are driving and buying less than before.
That's only half the story. The other half is one of American innovation in domestic energy conservation and resource extraction. A shale oil and gas boom has driven production to levels not seen in decades and efficiency standards have slashed household and vehicular consumption. The deployment of renewables and alternative fuels have contributed to a supply-demand balance that works very much in consumers' favor.
Suddenly, the US won't have to rely on foreign oil as much as it used to, and China will. That gives the US an economic and perhaps geopolitical advantage while China deepens its dependence on volatile, oil-rich countries in the Middle East.