If you said Qatar – congratulations!
Qatar’s status as an extreme outlier is mostly due to a high prevalence of energy-intensive refining processes, such as water desalination and natural gas processing. 80% of their population also lives in the capital city of Doha, which doesn’t exactly look like the most energy-efficient city in the world, either:
The more important lesson to take away from the above graph, though, is indeed about the United States. Our energy use relative to other developed countries should firmly lay to rest the idea that we use a reasonable amount of energy given our lifestyles. Our standard of living is very comparable to, say, France or Japan – they also have houses full of refrigerators and televisions and air conditioners and the like – but our energy expenditures are vastly higher. Some of that is undoubtedly due to industry, but a lot of it – more than we’d like to admit – is due to our own wasteful natures.
Of course, reinforcing that is the obvious fact – visually illustrated above – that the vast majority of the world’s population lives on a tiny fraction of the energy that we do.(Graph is from The Economist. Photo is from Flickr user Tophee, used under Creative Commons.)