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23

China World's Second Oil Consumer

China is the world's second-largest consumer of oil

China is the world's second-largest consumer of oil; the honor - if that's the word - of being the largest goes to the United States.

While China is still a distant second, it is coming fast and nothing proved that more than its oil imports this year, which soared almost 25 percent over a year earlier despite the spike in petroleum prices.

The Chinese now import around 3.3 million barrels a day and consume around 7 million barrels. The comparable figures for the United States are imports of just over 10 million barrels a day and consumption of about 21 million barrels a day.

The catch is that while our consumption has been relatively stable, China's demand has been soaring; in 2004 it was in the double digits. And China's economy has been growing at a pace that both delights and alarms Beijing.