Even as electric vehicles gain in popularity, we're told again and again that internal combustion engines aren't going away. While that may be true, it would still be nice to kick our addiction to gasoline. Pollution, international turmoil and energy insecurity are getting a bit tiresome. It's good news, then that Navigant Research is predicting a decline in the amount of gasoline we use.

In a report titled "Transportation Forecast: Global Fuel Consumption," Navigant Research concludes that gasoline consumption will begin to decline after 2021, and will decrease by four percent worldwide between 2014 and 2035. While it might not be time to break out the champagne yet, the forecast is promising. And it's not just a fluke or natural, cyclical event, either. This is the result of conscious effort by actual humans who are concerned about the effect gasoline use has on the Earth and its inhabitants.

"The anticipated effects of climate change are driving international cooperation on mitigation efforts," says Navigant Research analyst Scot Shepard, "including reducing oil consumption in the transportation sector. Markets for both vehicles and fuels have gradually begun to respond to these efforts, and alternative fuels - including electricity, natural gas, and biodiesel - are beginning to have an impact on global oil demand." Okay, maybe just a little champagne.

Navigant credits electric vehicles to a small extent for the eventual decline in gas use, as well as development of biofuels and the like. The group says, though, that the main factors are improvements in cars and the internal combustion engines they use, which lead to better fuel economy. Check out the press release from Navigant Research, below, or see more at the group's website.
Show full PR text
Worldwide Gasoline Consumption Will Fall by 4 Percent from 2014 to 2035
August 4, 2014

Gasoline consumption will start to decline after 2021, report concludes

The costs of dependence on oil for transportation, which affects energy security, environmental security, and economic stability, have become increasingly clear to governments around the world. As a result, a number of policies aimed at reducing oil consumption have been initiated in many countries, including subsidizing alternative fuels and alternative fuel vehicles, biofuels mandates, and higher fuel economy requirements for new vehicles. According to a new report from Navigant Research, gasoline consumption for road transportation will continue to rise through 2021, reaching 367.3 billion gallons a year, but then start to fall thereafter, declining to 348.1 billion gallons a year in 2035.

"The anticipated effects of climate change are driving international cooperation on mitigation efforts, including reducing oil consumption in the transportation sector," says Scott Shepard, research analyst with Navigant Research. "Markets for both vehicles and fuels have gradually begun to respond to these efforts, and alternative fuels ‑ including electricity, natural gas, and biodiesel ‑ are beginning to have an impact on global oil demand."

While the market for electric vehicles is growing at a healthy pace, according to the report, the most impactful fuel savings strategy is likely to come from fuel efficiency improvements in the conventional vehicle platform and the internal combustion engine (ICE). To meet the increased fuel economy requirements for new vehicles, automakers have made major investments in engine downsizing, reducing vehicle weights, and vehicle electrification.

The report, "Transportation Forecast: Global Fuel Consumption", analyzes the global road transportation fuels market by alternative fuel and vehicle segment (light duty vehicles and medium and heavy duty vehicles). Analysis and data are provided for the following fuels: gasoline, diesel, ethanol, biodiesel, drop-in biofuels, natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, electricity, and hydrogen. Global market forecasts for energy, oil, and fuel consumption, segmented by country and vehicle segment, extend through 2035. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the Navigant Research website.


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  • 17 Comments
      Ryan
      • 4 Months Ago
      Once fracking has caused enough problems, or the water runs out, or a big earthquake happens from liquifying and cracking the ground...or people look at how much money they give to oil companies over a 20 year period (and how many hours they have to work to pay for that in after-tax dollars)...or batteries evolve just a little more to give a 20 year life, 300 mile range, and $10,000 price...or people wake up to the tax dollars that they give to be able to get this oil...or that they realize that only some of the population gets ahead when their countries are flooded with cheap fuel. We should be reducing our use by 5% a year. But, people would have to be smart to figure that out, and I don't see many smart people around.
        jimmy_james44
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Ryan
        Takes people a long time to find out their health and death, are being traded away for Fracking Profits. The business model is cigarettes, Profits for 30 years of your life.
      Spec
      • 4 Months Ago
      It may drop . . . but it is not going to drop because of people being environmentalists. It may drop because it becomes so expensive that there is significant demand destruction.
        Knipfty
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Spec
        I own a leaf. It's one of 4 cars in our household. The family overall loves the car and thought I was crazy when buying it. It's a learning process that quite frankly, car manufactures need to somehow do a better job at. People in general don't really care about the environment. They really care about their wallets. If BEVs can be the same price or cheaper than ICEs, then people will naturally migrate that way. Higher gasoline prices are only one part of the equation though. After all, Europe has substantially higher fuel costs than the US. And people there are not rushing out to buy BEVs.
      islandboy
      • 4 Months Ago
      Worldwide gasoline demand will have to drop as world oil production declines. Demand, as implied in this case, is really just a substitute for supply since, any desire to use more than the available supply is going to result in price increases to keep the "demand" in line with the supply. Based on forecasts from the likes of the EIA and the IEA, world petroleum supplies are not going to decline any time soon and point to the ongoing surge in US production. On the other hand independent sources say the shale boom could peter out as soon as 2016 and the two largest exporters, Russia and Saudi Arabia have been making herculean efforts just to keep their production more or less stable, with a very real possibility that their production could go into decline within the next couple of years. Using data from the EIA, world net exports, i.e. the amount of oil that countries that import oil (most of the world) can buy on the world markets, are somewhere between 42 and 43 million barrels per day(mbpd). EIA data also has Russia and Saudi Arabia making up about 16 mbpd or more than a third of those world oil exports. Russian government sources have stated that they expect to see declining revenues from oil exports going forward. Buckle your seat belts Dorothy!
      Levine Levine
      • 4 Months Ago
      As more Tesla, Leaf, and Soul EV are sold, less gasoline is sold. Gasoline demand has already started weakening today, not by 2021.
        Jon
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Levine Levine
        I doubt this is the case. There haven't been enough EV's sold to really affect demand. There are still several orders of magnitude more ICE cars sold per year than EV's. The number of ICE's on the road is still going up not down. It is more likely that demand is down because people are driving less.
      BipDBo
      • 4 Months Ago
      I don't believe it. I'd bet that gasoline demand in China and India will continue to rise. Their urban centers are already overfilled with cars that will hopefully be displaced by public transportation. People living in rural areas in China, India and similar countries still get around by bicycle and on foot, living in an agrarian society not much displaced from the 19th century. I believe that as more infrastructure such as paved roads are built and these rural areas catch up with the 21st century, they will see many more automobiles. also, people and businesses will start to reverse the immigration into cities, and go back into less congested areas. China and India aren't the only locations for potential increase in demand. Rise in fuel demand will follow rise in prosperity. There is a lot of potential for rise in industry and prosperity in many parts of Africa.
        brotherkenny4
        • 4 Months Ago
        @BipDBo
        China and India will keep their demand high simply to keep the price high and thus to limit the US economy. This is intended to limit US imperialism.
          Spec
          • 4 Months Ago
          @brotherkenny4
          That is an odd conspiracy theory. It is much simpler to say that their demand will remain high because their economies are growing and nearly everyone likes to have a car. China is now the biggest car market in the world and it is still growing. But I do think all car markets are going to slow down as gas prices rise. It would be impossible for China to have as many gasoline cars per capita as there are in the USA. The geology just won't support it.
          BipDBo
          • 4 Months Ago
          @brotherkenny4
          I agree with spec. These countries will grow in prosperity, but not as a consorted effort to keep us down. As their trading partner, they want us to do well and prosper. Our prosperity gives life to their prosperity, and at least eventually, if not already vise versa also.
      Ben Crockett
      • 4 Months Ago
      I hope this will be the case - oil has better uses than simply burning it up - such as in life saving pharmaceuticals. As optimistically bullish that I am about EV adoption - I do often wonder if the future savings in oil consumption by Western Countries will simply be more than offset by Developing Country consumption by China and India - as their middle class wealth improves. As wealth improves so does demand for goods and services - which almost all require oil somewhere along the line be it directly or indirectly in transport. I remember watching a documentary (sorry can't remember name) that stated if China consumed oil like the US that there would need equivant of something like 6 Earths! Scary stats. Of course that will not happen overnight as car ownership is still and will likely remain very different than American ownership but scale of problem gives forward thinking that current consumption needs a rethink.
      lad
      • 4 Months Ago
      I drive a Leaf; and, yes, it's range is limited by a low-density battery; however, I'll never buy another ICE car. And, I think most people who drive one for a while feel much the same way. I must tell you that using oil distillates, like gasoline and diesel, as a automotive fuel is a terrible waste of energy and it makes more sense to use oil to create pharmaceuticals, plastics and other advance compounds. Realize that only 15 to 20% of the potential energy in fossil fuel is used to move the car. The rest of the energy is lost in heating water in the radiator and air in the exhaust system. Oil is grossly misused as an automotive fuel and we have been doing this for a hundred plus years...it's a sin.
        jack smith
        • 4 Months Ago
        @lad
        Well lad, your opinion is all well and good, except for a few things, except for the fact that almost all electricity in this country comes from fossil fuels as well. Matter must be burned to create heat, which in turns heats water into steam (chemical to heat energy conversion). That steam is used to spin a turbine (heat to mechanical). Then that turbine turns a generator (mechanical to electrical). A simple cycle natural gas power plant is anywhere from 22-28% thermal efficient, coal plants range in the mid 30s, while combined cycle gas plants range in the mid 40s...you can Google all of this, if you wish. Of all the natural gas plants across America, very few (and only the very newest) are combined cycle plants. And then we have transmission line losses, which average around 10%. Per Schneider Electric, who likely makes most of the transmission equipment for your local power company, that number can be even as high as 15%, but let's just go with an "average" of 10%. http://blog.schneider-electric.com/energy-management-energy-efficiency/2013/03/25/how-big-are-power-line-losses/ In a perfect world, 3,500BTUs (international) would equal one single kWh, but we do not live in a perfect world with perfect energy conversion rates. So even in if you lived near one of the very newest combined cycle plants, running at 46% efficiency, by the time we throw in line losses then you are only receiving one single kWh for every 10,500BTUs burned at the plant. If you live near a coal plant that is 36% efficient, that goes up to 14,000BTUs per kWh...you get the idea. A gallon of gasoline contains 114,000BTUs, so an ICE vehicle that gets 32mpg highway would be able to travel 96 miles on 342,000BTUs. A 85kWh Tesla model S has a maximum range of 265 miles, for a rate of 3.11 miles per kWh (or 3.12 miles for your Nissan Leaf). Therefore, at the 36% total efficiency rate, a Tesla Model S could travel 101.2 miles on that same 342,000BTUs burned at the powerplant. Using that logic, a V6 Mustang is almost as "green" as a Model S/Nissan Leaf, and a 4 cylinder Nissan Altima with a CVT transmission is even MORE green, being able to travel 114 miles on those 342,000BTUs as compared to the 101.2 miles from the Model S. That's the problem, switching to electric and using fossil fuel burning power plants isn't any more "green" than burning that fuel directly in your vehicle, it might be cheaper, but certainly not "greener". That cheapness won't last long either, as the more electricity is consumed, the higher it will get. Not only will you be paying a premium to drive, but your household expenses will increase as well with high energy costs. The average house uses 29kWh per day per the EIA, and if just one quarter of drivers owned an electric and charged it for 13kWh daily........what then? Basically, if you still rely on your local fossil fuel burning power plant for your energy needs, then YOU my dear lad, are a very big hypocrite. Do you consider that a sin, too?
          skierpage
          • 4 Months Ago
          @jack smith
          You make the usual mistake of ignoring the inefficiencies of producing, refining, and distributing that gallon of gasoline. Another error: "EIA estimates that national electricity transmission and distribution losses average about 6% of the electricity that is transmitted and distributed in the United States each year." It's very likely that electricity will continue to be cheaper than gasoline because there are multiple ways to generate it. Solar and wind power limit the price increase, and their rate of installation is going to be higher than any increase in electricity demand from EVs. (Actual USA electric consumption has *dropped* since 2007.) 13 kWh of electricity costs $1.56 on average and sends a Leaf 38 miles, so your scare about increased consumption is full of fail. etc. etc.
          jack smith
          • 4 Months Ago
          @jack smith
          @skierpage It doesn't take much electricity at all to refine gasoline, only enough to keep the lights on at the refinery, it takes BTUs to refine oil. Yes, I'm very aware of the BS nonsense that Chris Paine and Elon Musk spouted about it takes 4-6kWh to produce a single gallon of gasoline, but they severely twisted the facts to come to that conclusion. (which should surprise no one) You see, they divided the amount of energy it takes to refine a whole 42 gallon barrel of petroleum, into the number of gallons of gasoline it produced, then converted the BTUs used to kWh figuring 100% efficiency rates for the conversion. But we are not capable of anywhere near 100% chemical to electrical energy conversion, and a barrel of oil produces much more than just gasoline. That barrel was not refined to produce gasoline alone. One 42 gallon barrel of oil produces roughly 19.5 gallons of gasoline, 10 gallons of diesel, 4 gallons of jetfuel, and 12.5 gallons of various other products (propane, naptha, etc). http://energyalmanac.ca.gov/gasoline/whats_in_barrel_oil.html Even if we ignored the erroneous 100% energy conversion and used the highest 6kWh per gallon of gasoline figure, that means it took 117kWh to refine that entire barrel of oil. Divide that by the total amount of product, and we get 2.43kWh per gallon. As for your little EIA quote, they specifically stated that it was an estimate, and without any real research done on the matter at that. That link I gave you was written by a Mr. Jacques Schonek who happens to have a doctorate in electrical engineering, helped invent the Telemecanique variable-speed drive, and just so happens to work for a company that produces all of the back end systems that power companies need to operate. Yet you ignore all of that, which says a great deal about you. But since you're so keen to twist facts, ignore truth, and throw up 2nd and 3rd order effects into the equation, how about this. Let's calculate the number of miles driven by power company employees for maintenance, then multiply that number by the percentage increase of personnel required for increased demand with a 25% plug-in vehicle ownership. Let's also factor in the energy it took to extract, refine, and transport the fossil fuels to the power company for consumption, as well as the energy cost to produce and transport the large battery packs, and all charging and discharging inefficiencies between the wall outlet to the battery, and from the battery to the wheels. We can go around and around about this forever, but in the end, you still can't argue against one simple fact. As long as you require electricity from a fossil fuel burning powerplant to recharge your EV, then you might as well burn that fuel directly in your vehicle. In the end, it all amounts to the same thing, and no amount of acting like a child, crying, kicking, screaming, and sticking your fingers in your ears while singing to yourself will make the truth go away.
          islandboy
          • 4 Months Ago
          @jack smith
          It seems that, depending on the biases of the individual doing the study, one can come up with vastly different figures for "well to wheel" efficency. I would be interested in seeing a study, not funded by an oil company or a right wing think tank or some other vested interest with a great amount of skin in the game. Right now, I am highly sceptical of studies that support the status quo, the incumbents being a multi-billion dollar a year industry with a great deal at stake. It is customary for the status quo to put up all sort of justifications for it's business model, right up untill they are supplanted by the disruptors. History is littered with cases.
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