Is Peak Demand in Our Future?

..Is Peak Demand in Our Future?

As noted in Energy Forecasts Are Contaminatedforecasts have been contaminated by using a carbon price when making the forecast.

This includes forecasts for growth in oil demand.

This chart exemplifies how supporters of the CO2 hypothesis promote the effect of electric vehicles on the demand for oil.

But is this downward trend realistic?

Here is a table showing PHEV and BEV sales for the first quarter of 2017.

Year over year, the sale of PHEVs and BEVs increased significantly.

But what has been their impact on the use of oil?

  • Total cumulative PHEV and BEV sales since 2011 = 600,135
  • Light Vehicles on the road in 2015 = 263,600,000.

Therefore, PHEVs & BEVs combined represented only 0.23% of all light vehicles on the road in the United States.

Until now, it’s clear that electrification of the transportation sector has only had a minuscule effect on oil usage.

Here is data for China and India, in addition to the United States:

The penetration of light vehicles, i.e., automobiles, in terms of vehicles per 100 people, remains small in China and India when compared with the United States, i.e., China = 8, India = 4, United States = 82.

It’s reasonable to assume, there will be a large increase in the number of vehicles in both China and India, and probably elsewhere in the world as well.

The increase in the number of vehicles could potentially be in the hundreds of millions.

PHEVs and BEVs represent a tiny fraction of the vehicles sold in China, and also in India, though there is scant data in the case of India.

Introduction of midsize BEVs, e.g., Tesla Model 3 and GM Bolt, could provide an indication of potential future BEV sales, though subsidies will still distort market acceptance.

The question is:

Will the preponderance of new vehicles be gasoline/diesel powered or battery powered?

It is my view they will be gasoline/diesel powered and not battery powered, even though the number of battery-powered vehicles will also increase.

This view is based on the currently small fraction of battery powered vehicles being sold, their high price and the lack of charging infrastructure.

The prospects are that the demand for oil will increase over the next several decades, not decrease.

We can ignore Peak Demand, at least for the foreseeable future.

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2 Replies to “Is Peak Demand in Our Future?”

    • There would be nothing wrong with promoting natural gas-powered vehicles, especially since we have a huge supply of low-cost natural gas.
      The main problem, once again, is the lack of fueling stations. There have been several efforts to build Compressed NG and LNG stations, the latter primarily for 18 wheelers.
      But the cost is substantial and the effort has seemed to flag over the past two years. The other problem is the space that the NG tanks take up in the vehicle. Only one or two car manufacturers build NG vehicles, and until there is the infrastructure in place to refuel the vehicles I wonder whether many car manufacturers will become interested.