Kevin Wale, the president of General Motors China, said that automakers knew who was buying their cars and saw no evidence of a car-buying conspiracy. Sharp improvements in fuel economy — partly because of government mandates and partly because of a shift to smaller cars — help explain the slow growth in gasoline sales, he said.
A series of recent increases in regulated fuel prices may have also discouraged some driving, he added [Kevin Bradsher, "An Oddity in China: Car Sales Leap, but Not Gas Sales," New York Times, 2009.12.09].
Check that out: the Chinese are able to increase their economic activity and improve their standard of living (if you consider adding car payments, maintenance costs, and parking fees to your life an "improvement") without a massive increase in realted energy consumption. The Chinese have the will to use technology and regulation to do more with less. Do we Americans?