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Justin Fox

The Gulf Oil Kingdoms Are Having Their Own Oil Crisis

Decades of subsidies have led to profligate overuse of oil and gas by Saudi Arabia and its neighbors. They’re trying to correct that now, but it’s not easy.

Time is running out.

Time is running out.

Photographer: Ali Mohammadi/Bloomberg

Countries one through four on the list of the world’s biggest oil consumers in 2017 are pretty much who you’d expect them to be — the world’s four biggest economies. No. 5 is something else:

Saudi Arabia has just 33 million people, less than one-fourth as many as Russia, the country just below it on the list. Yes, it’s rich, but its gross domestic product ranks in the high teens worldwide, not fifth. By global standards, then, it clearly uses an inordinate amount of oil.