China overtakes US as the world's largest world oil importer.

FT: “After decades as the world’s biggest market for the international oil trade, America is ceding that position, the US Energy Information Administration said this week. The implications for international relations and global security are profound.”
“….The trends are expected to continue. By 2020, US crude imports will have fallen to 6.8m barrels per day, while China’s will have risen to 9.2m b/d, according to Wood Mackenzie, the research firm.
….In the US, politicians and analysts are asking if a reduced thirst for imported oil will allow Washington to extricate itself from the Middle East. The real question, though, is not whether a more self-sufficient America will get out of the region but whether a more dependent China will be forced in.
….There are already signs in China of the government trying to curb fuel demand and many analysts expect its oil consumption to stop far short of the US level of 21.5 barrels per person per year. It is just 2.9 barrels per person per year today.
….Having pulled ahead, there is no looking back for China. Its import dependency has climbed to 57 per cent, while the surprising growth of US shale gas means the US pumps more than half of the oil it consumes – and has dropped to second place earlier than expected.
….China’s total demand for oil will hover around 11m barrels per day in 2013, the EIA estimates, less than two-thirds of the 18.7m b/d consumed by Americans.
But that is changing, too. China has about 100m vehicles, less than half of the 250m owned by Americans. But by 2030 the Chinese fleet could exceed 350m. “In my view, China’s auto demand is unstoppable,” says Tim Guinness, chief investment officer of Guinness Atkinson Funds, who took his own road trip from Shenzhen to Beijing in 2004 to check out the state of China’s roads.
The nation’s highway network was built from scratch during the past two decades and encompasses almost 100,000km of roads today, exceeding America’s 75,000km of interstate highways.”