Although many might assume consumption-loving Western countries like the United States would top a listing of nations that use the most energy per person, Americans are far from the world's worst energy pigs.
Energy-centered news site Oilprice.com released the list in late September. The ranking is based on an analysis of the latest World Bank data on energy used per person, measured in "kilograms of oil equivalent," which means the units of energy equal to what's generated by 1 kilo of crude.
Turns out there are some surprising and unexpected culprits, including a Caribbean country and one in Southeast Asia.
—By CNBC's Hailey Lee
Posted 02 Oct. 2014
Finland is one of the highest per capita energy users in Europe, with 6,183 kilograms per capita used, the ranking finds. This is understandable since more than a third of the chilly country lies above the Arctic Circle. The Nordic nation has four nuclear reactors, that provide about 30 percent of its electricity, and has just approved two more to be built, according to the World Nuclear Association.
That's right. at 6,793 kilograms per capita, the United States doesn't even make the top five gluttons. The nation generates more than 65 percent of its electricity from fossil fuel—coal made up 39 percent of total electricity generation, based on the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Per capita energy use in America peaked in '78, finds the EIA.
Canada is home to some of the snowiest cities in North America, which explains why they need so much energy to warm up. Each Canadian uses 7,333 kilograms of energy per capita. About two-thirds of Canada's crude oil production is exported. It is the largest foreign supplier of energy to the United States, according to the EIA.
The United Arab Emirates, which consumes 7,407 kilograms of energy per capita, is one of the 10 largest oil and natural gas producers in the world that is working to increase domestic natural gas production to meet growing internal demand. The UAE has one of the highest rates of per capita petroleum consumption in the world, reports the EIA.
Land-locked Luxembourg, which consumes 7,684 kilograms per capita, is almost completely dependent on foreign energy imports, with oil and natural gas making up the majority. Although the country is the least populated nation in the European Union, it had the highest carbon-dioxide emissions per capita in the 2013 EU-27.
Brunei, located on the northwestern edge of the island of Borneo, is the fifth-biggest energy pig in the world, at 9,427 kilograms per capita. This Muslim sultanate is rich in oil and relies on hydrocarbon revenues for almost two-thirds of its GDP, reports EIA. The bulk of electricity is generated using natural gas fuels but it is investing in electricity efficiency to save its natural gas for exports.
At 10,408 kilograms, Kuwait is the fourth-biggest energy glutton. Although this Arab country has the second-smallest land area among member countries of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), it exports the third-largest oil volume.
Due to high energy demand, the country suffers from frequent power outages, which it is trying to address by increasing production of natural gas. Oil consultants predict Kuwait, along with other OPEC countries, may consider supply cuts in response to lower oil prices recently.
Trinidad and Tobago's natural gas consumption accounted for approximately 92 percent of total energy consumption. At 15,691 kilograms per capita, it ranks No. 3 as an energy guzzler. It is the leading oil and gas producer in the Caribbean with one of the highest per capita incomes in Latin America, according to the CIA.
Qatar consumes 17,418 kilograms per capita of energy, ranking it the second-highest energy consumer. In 2007, the country became the world's largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, according to the Heritage Foundation. This tiny nation's oil and natural gas revenues have allowed it to gain the highest per capita income in the world.
At 18,774 kilograms, Iceland consumes three times the amount of per capita energy as America, which definitely gives the Nordic country the title of worst energy glutton in the world.
How ironic, as Iceland is also extremely green—100 percent of electricity is produced from renewable sources. Three-quarters of electricity comes from hydroelectric sources. The country's aluminum industry used up to 70 percent of electricity in 2011.