Oil Based Economies
In January of this year, the U.S. used 4% less petroleum than we did a year ago. (Oil demand was down 3.2% in February.) Furthermore, demand has been falling slowly since July of last year.
In 2003 I payed $1.50 USD a gallon now I am paying $3.50 a gallon. The price increase was both was sudden and constant. It was blamed on a number of issues, Katrina, Iraq, China, India, tornadoes, vacation driving, you name it. However it appears that refineries in the US have twice as much in reserve each month than they did a year ago and ethanol, while putting pressure on food prices, is alleviating demand. This isn't being seen at the petrol pump.
This is the problem; even with pricing doubling in five years and the US cutting back consumption, it is still an oil economy simply because oil is so cheap - even when it is expensive by modern standards. Europe pays about $8 a gallon for their oil yet its economy and transportation system are still base on oil and its resultant infrastructure. European cars, while smaller, are still burn oil. Even when oil is made artificially expensive through government taxes it is still very cheap. This is not going to change anytime soon.