It will not shorten the gas lines, but it might ease the pain a bit this summer for Americans to know that they are not the world's greediest guzzlers.

The dubious distinction belongs to Canadians who, despite all the talk of an "energy crisis," continue to consume energy at the world's fastest per capita rate.

"Fill 'er up" may sound like a cruel reminder of happier days for Americans, but it is a refrain echoes daily by Canadian motorist who pull up at their local service stations and drive of without an energy care in the world.

At some Canadian service stations, it still seems like the good old days in the United States with operators offering discount gasoline and other purchase incentives.

Resisting government warnings about the need to conserve, Canadians plough ahead buying big cars, fancy appliances and other gadgets, convinced that this country's natural resources insulate them from world energy pressures.

Big car sales in Canada shot up nearly 25 percent in the first half of the year. In the first five months of this year, small cars grabbed 53 percent of the U.S. car market compared to 45 percent in the same period a year ago. But in Canada, the share of the market held by small cars actually fell.

Apparently, all the news stories in Canada about the U.S. gasoline problems have not convinced Canadians that they could have an energy problem. But those news reports are detering many Canadians from taking their vacations in the United States, and that is worrying many U.S. tourist officials

In recent weeks, representatives from at least four American states toured Canada trying to tell prospective tourists that the U.S. press and radio have overblown the gas shortage.

Canadian government officials are distressed that the gas shortage in the northeastern United States will keep many American tourists at home.

Several provincial governments in Canada wanted to launch an advertising campaign bragging about the availability of gasoline here, but they backed off when reminded by the central government in Ottawa that Canada will face its own energy problems as the country's domestic oil production is expected to decline in the next several years.

Those Americans vacationing in Canada will find speed limits higher than in the United States. Canadian limits have been reduced, but only to 60 miles an hour.

To justify their high use of energy, most Canadians point to the weather, especially the long and bitterly cold winter. They also talk about the great distances separating the country's major cities.

But beyond these factors, Canadians are every bit as wedded to their cars and the affluent life fueled by cheap energy as their American neighbors.

Every winter, tens of thousand of Canadians trek to Florida or southern California to escape the northern winter. Many in small, isolated communities purchase large, flashy cars to impress friends and ease the often sterile existence in the Canadian north.

The result is that Canadians are the world's largest per capita users of energy, according to the International Energy Agency. They consume 60.9 barrels of oil per capita, compared to 58.1 in the United States, 26.6 in Great Britain and 21.0 in Japan.

The Canadian government is both annoyed and embarrassed by this, but its effort to persuade Canadians to save energy have been notably unsuccessful. The government is partly to blame.

For four years, the central government has been allowing domestic oil prices to rise slowly.But world prices have soared faster than domestic prices, resulting in an ever-widening spread. Cushioning Canadians from the impact of world price increases has hardly induced Canadians to save.

The government is talking about allowing the domestic price to rise much more quickly toward international levels. But, as in the United States, formidable political and economic obstacles block higher energy prices and the government is still wrestling with what to do.