At first glance, the official figures of China’s oil consumption in 2005 seem a bit confusing. With a robust economic growth and rising annual oil imports, China made the surprise announcement that its oil consumption growth rate was dropping sharply, from 15.3 percent in 2004 to 2.1 percent in 2005. Earlier, China’s Ministry of Commerce attributed the slower growth to high oil prices, the government’s macro-control and a relatively sufficient electric power supply, but some argue that this phenomenon is a result of tightening oil supplies rather than a decline in the demand for oil.You have to pity the Chinese middle class to an extent. The want cars - and who are we to tell them no? - but the moment they want them, oil becomes too expensive for them to own cars. Meanwhile, so long as China and India don't want cars, the rest of us get to drive cheap.