Peak Oil Expected By 2036: Autonomous Electric Cars To Lower Oil Demand


By the year 2025, forecast puts China at around 57% of global EV sales

A recent report by Wood Mackenzie, published on Monday in Financial Times, reveals that peak oil is expected to arrive around 2036 – just around the time when electric vehicles and autonomous vehicles are expected to play an increasingly crucial role in the world’s transportation industry. This long-term outlook not only outlines the perceived peak oil consumption, but it also paints a pretty good picture of how the automotive sector will look like. Autonomous and robotically operated vehicles are expected to become mainstream.

“Autonomous electric vehicles or robo-taxis will really change the face of transport in the coming decades,” Ed Rawle, Wood Mackenzie’s head of crude oil research, told the FT.

According to the UK based energy consultancy, a wider acceptance of autonomous electric vehicles and robotically operated taxis in commercial usage will arrive by 2035. For them, it is reasonable enough to predict that more of the oil demand all across the world will be offset more by the autonomous electric vehicles, than just by electric vehicles alone.

“They will be on the road far more as they are autonomous, displacing a disproportionate amount of oil-based transport,” the FT quoted Rawle as saying.

Furthermore, Japan’s Fuji Keizai Group forecasts that by the year 2035, 57% of the global electric vehicle sales will be consumed by China alone. Additionally, the market research company predicts that global electric vehicles sales will hit 11.25 million units in 2035 – close to 15 times more than the amount of 760,000 sold last year. The Chinese market is slated to account for 6.42 of that amount, putting China at the forefront of the electric vehicle adoption race.

The forecast puts Europe at the second place as far as demands go, with sales of 2.17 million electric cars (19.3%). North America will follow closely with 1.36 million electric cars (12%), and finally, Japan will be the fourth largest consumer per units sold with 450,000 (7.2%) per year by 2035.

Hybrid forecasted to remain relevant on bigger markets

Offsetting oil consumption will not only fall onto the back of the EV but also, the hybrids and plug-in hybrids. Fuji Kezao forecasts worldwide sales of plug-in hybrids to reach 12.43 million cars by 2035. Last year,  400,000 plug-hybrids were sold. Regular hybrids are forecasted to grow to .2 million vehicles by 2035 – double of the number sold in 2017 globally. China will reportedly be the biggest market for plug-in hybrids, accounting for 4.65 million cars (37.4%) sold in 2035. For hybrids, Japan is set to lead the sales numbers by 2035 with sales of 1.31 million cars.

Source: Green Car Report

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55 Comments on "Peak Oil Expected By 2036: Autonomous Electric Cars To Lower Oil Demand"

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Yet another random article with random projections about a subject that is very far off. It’s laughable how the ‘Tipping Point’ is projected anywhere from 2-3 years from now to 20-30 years from now, and everything in between. That being said, it is pretty interesting to see the ever changing attempts by Big Oil and its proponents to delay the inevitable.

More important will be the collapse of oil stock prices, and that won’t take more than 7 years. Even today, the industry needs pump articles about how great a time it is to buy oil stocks, meaning, there’s already lack of demand.

Not at all. EV sales worldwide aren’t even equal to the F-150. They’re 3-5 years away from even catching pace to the global sales increase which is 3-4% annually. It is ridiculous to think demand will peak in 7 years when fertilizer, plastics and other petrochemical stock sales are projected to increase worldwide 60% by 2030. 2036-2040 is a very solid projection.

U.S. petroleum demand has already peaked. In 2008, of 99.8 Quads of energy use, 37.13 were petroleum. In 2017, of 97.7 Quads of energy use, 36.2 Quads were petroleum. Coal use declined by 8.4 Quads. Meanwhile, natural gas increased by 4.2 Quads and renewables increased by 3.7 Quads. Note that despite real GDP growth of 13.0% over the period, energy use actually decreased slightly (first time in history that has happened). Renewables are only getting more competitive:


Global sales in 2017 increased 2 million for 2.4%. ~1.2 million of those had plugs.

Any growth this year will likely be smaller than total EV sales ~ 2million. 2019 will be 3-4million.
We are fast approaching peak internal combustion only vehicle production.

I’ve excluded the 2million hybrids sold last year and likely explosive growth in mild hybridisation 48v from here on in.

If growth continues at the same exponential pace it has over the past years, EVs should reach close to 100% of new sales towards the end of the next decade. A bit before that, less new combustion cars would be sold than old ones replaced. Unless non-fuel uses grow faster than combustion cars decrease, we should see a peak at that point.

(Of course it might be only a temporary peak, if non-fuel uses continue to increase for a long time…)

Article only calculates gas usage. It may eel be that oil is still refined but for other products of that process.
Still a win, cause less gass will be burned.
Also you failed to show that increased demand for petrochemical stuff will lead to increased oil demand. For that you need to show that current supply of products of refinement is not enough. But that’s not a slum duck.

I think peak oil will happen 10 years earlier than the article said. The only thing holding it back is manufacturing of EV’s. Once companies mass manufacturer EV’s prices will come down and sales of ICE will decline.

2025 or 2035?

If it is 2025 that it’s a pretty modest but fairly realistic prediction. It it’s 2035 then they are off by a decade.

Not at all. EV sales worldwide aren’t even equal to the F-150. They’re 3-5 years away from even catching pace to the global sales increase which is 3-4% annually. It is ridiculous to think demand will peak in 7 years when fertilizer, plastics and other petrochemical stock sales are projected to increase worldwide 60% by 2030. 2036-2040 is a very solid projection.

You sure seem to like copy and paste

Is that your argument? Some of us actually have jobs and don’t have the time to basically re-write the same argument twice.

Then don’t. Redundancy doesn’t add to the discussion.

There will hardly even be any new gasoline powered cars being made by then.

Dude, you have no idea no was slowly big things change. It will happen, but it won’t happen quickly. Gas cars are cheap, fast, (albeit not as quick as a Tesla!) quiet and easy to build. Gasoline is cheap and it fuels a car very quickly with very little range loss in winter.

You have no idea how fast things can change once they get going for good. There is a nice montage out there showing two photos the same busy street somewhere in New York (IIRC) some ten years apart, going from almost 100% horse carriages to almost 100% automobiles. The same thing is likely going to happen with EVs.

If EVs continue to grow 40-45% oil will peak in 2027-28. Robotaxis could accelerate that 3-5 years.

Variations from the above require a belief that EV growth rate will change appreciably and/or Robotaxis will flop.

Robo-taxis will probably not flop, but most likely they won’t replace a majority of all car trips either…

This is like the predictions about computers, cell phones and then smart phones. Existing adoption trends were used, but not really understanding the adoption S curve. We could all be wrong, as everyone here is biased towards EVs, but we could also be right, it could switch rapidly like NY switching from all horses to all cars within 13 years.

The article also didn’t say whether the report included electric trucks, not just the Tesla Semi. I really think those are going ramp up really rapidly because it’s based on fleet managers’ bottom lines, and they’ll quickly see the advantage in fuel costs and low maintenance. If they do ramp up quickly, then it’ll have a significant effect on oil demand by ~2025.

And as someone else said, it’ll effect the oil industry’s stock valuations as soon as demand stops growing, which is one of my favourite parts of this transition.

Not only will EV’s lower demand for oil but Island countries will continue adding more renewable energy for electric generation. E15 ethanol will eat into gasoline. Also if the US cities ever get there act together with recyling plastic and I’m not talking about just bundling it up and shipping it overseas. We need to recycle plastic into a plastic resin this would create jobs and plastic resin pellets have value. Right now the only facility I know of that does this is in San Francisco.

We’re working from a base, that already exists. A TWh of batteries in transportation takes .5-1 million barrels a day out of global demand. We’re already near 300GWh. Sucks for them, and their hopes people would focus on “adaptation”, instead.

2035 sounds about right. Diesel and jet fuel is still growing by leaps and bounds. Trucks, ships, railroads, planes, plastics. All still growing a lot.

We are already pretty much at peak gasoline. That’s why refineries are converting or closing but diesel, jet fuel and heating oil no way by 2025

We are most certainly not at peak gasoline. 1.5% of new cars are EV. Annual growth rate of vehicles worldwide are around 3-3.5%. The F-150 outsells all EV’s at present. I think it’ll be closer to 2038-42 as cobalt strains happen in the coming years. An issue EV fanboys ignore.

Worldwide I agree with you but we hit peak gasoline consumption in the United States back in 2007

Battery chemistry has not been ignored – indeed, on this very site there is a recent article contrasting battery chemistries of various EV makers. Natural abundance of cobalt is not nearly as high as iron, but it is an order of magnitude higher than, say, tin. It is only ~3 times less abundant than copper. That means when demand rises, it is very likely that less than ideal sources of cobalt (i.e., not in the Congo) will become economical before the price of cobalt has a huge effect on battery costs. Furthermore, there are competitive battery designs that reduce the cobalt fraction of the transition metal oxide in the battery to less than 25%. Cobalt is a problem, but likely a surmountable one.

What’s more, there are some more or less promising cathode chemistries not using Cobalt at all. These are not viable today, but might very well become the preferred choice some years from now.

Cobalt is not going to be a constraint on EV production. As has always happened when there’s a shortage of a particular material, manufacturers will find alternative ways to make their product.

You are correct to say that global peak gasoline has not happened yet, since China, India and other countries are rapidly building industrialized economies. But even as those economies grow, the pace of replacing fossil fuels with renewables also grows. Fortunately, China is also likely to use an increasing amount of nuclear power for electricity production, which sadly has become politically almost impossible in the U.S.

400-watt-hours per kilogram and jet fuel is done. Boeing , Airbus, etc. are working on planes now anticipating that batteries achieve the densities. It could be 2035, but make no mistake trucks, ships, and even planes will go electric. Only rockets will use liquid fuel. Lots of countries are taking a stand on plastics. Plastics won’t go away but their hay-day is toast as well.

It’s not quite as easy. 400 Wh/kg will suffice for short-distance flight; but we won’t see electric long-distance flight any time soon. Flight is probably the one area where bio-fuels are likely to make sense. (If they can be produced in an actually sustainable fashion…)

Considering the great advantages of plastics in many areas, I don’t see usage dropping significantly. Unless bio-plastics become economically viable, oil usage in this area won’t decline. Non-fuel usage is not much of a problem, though.

Surely it can’t cost that much more to make plastics using starch or sugar? The only reason we’re using petroleum as the base for plastics is that it’s currently cheaper. As the sources of cheap oil are exhausted, the price of petroleum will continue to climb. The end of using petroleum to make plastics will likely happen rather suddenly, once the price of petroleum rises high enough.

Starch and sugar are carbohydrates, petroleum is a mix of hydrocarbons. The properties of the kinds of polymers that can be made from either are different enough that there it doesn’t make sense to speak of making something one generically calls “plastics” from these two different sources. And converting sugars of starch into hydrogen-rich materials costs … energy. But of course, much of the “junk” plastics (e.g., packaging) is a result of marketing – not something we need at all.

I don’t think anybody believes at this point that there will be an oil shortage any time soon. The article you linked doesn’t talk about oil supply at all; it’s all about degradability/recycling. While that is certainly a valid concern, I wonder whether bio-plastics are actually more sustainable to produce? Taking a somewhat simplistic view, plastics made from oil and ending up in a landfill are zero net emissions; while for bio-plastics, land use makes the equation much more complex…

Of course it’s not quite as simple for oil-derived plastics either, since extracting and processing oil also creates environmental problems; and the energy used isn’t free. A full life-cycle analysis would be interesting.

Electric propulsion planes are prop-driven planes, which can’t compete with jets for commercial flight because they are too slow.

Jet aviation fuel will likely be the last bastion of petroleum refining. Even that should eventually be mostly replaced by carbon-neutral fully synthetic fuel, altho that is almost certainly some decades off.

As someone pointed out last time this came up, the speed argument is not valid, since modern engines are actually more prop-driven than jet-driven.

As far as I can tell, range is the only major challenge.

Trucks will switch faster than passenger cars. Ships may or may not be a problem — hard to tell. Planes can likely switch to bio-fuels, if these can be produced in an actually sustainable fashion. Heating use can be reduced by better thermal isolation; and/or entirely avoided without much hassle by retrofitting heat pumps.

This will probably not all happen by 2025 — but I think it likely that fuel uses of oil will start declining sharply before the end of the next decade.

I think what is meant is “peak demand”, that is, when the demand curve for oil starts to fall again, and that’s sheer guesswork, as most of the third world economies are just ramping up oil consumption.

The “peak oil” theory died with the fracking revolution, which converted previously thought to be unusable shale oil to workable deposits. I have seen as much as 500 years left of supply, and that’s assuming level demand and no new oil deposits are discovered, both of which are complete fiction.

Depending on how you look at it, it can be considered a total shift in meaning (supply to demand), or not much of a shift at all (extraction will likely peak at some point, whatever the reasons).

Laugh out loud! Peak oil? Talk about a silly concept… Will oil production peak some day? Of course. But after hearing years of this sort of warning, you have to group peak oil with EEStor. The claims they are making will happen, but don’t hold your breath!

The EEStor company supercapacitor claims were based on borderline deception and outright fraud, comparable in scope to the Fleecing of Enron investors, when that scam was totally exposed.

Peak oil extraction (liquid petroleum out of the ground) and utilization, will have a global peak, but you can be certain that Big Oil will harness growing laboratory oil feedstock production, into factory production and output, that will eventually become commonplace, at a certain advantageous price point.

EEStor trade publication coverage from YESTERDAY! Sorry, not at all a fraud.

Hmmm, it’s pretty likely that we’ll see peak oil long before we see any magic “better than lithium ion batteries” supercapacitors like EEStor promised… if that’s even possible.

These predictions continue to slip closer and closer. Suspect when they say 2035 they mean 2028.

Ironically, widespread adoption of EV’s will delay peak oil and keep oil price increases in check for ICE car owners. Don’t expect a thank-you.

That would happen if oil prices were a result of actual scarcity, rather than artificial limits in extraction. That will never be the case.

There’s nothing “artificial” about the fact that easily extracted sources of petroleum have mostly been exhausted, and that the ones remaining are increasingly more expensive to exploit. The reason the fracking boom happened in the U.S. was a result of a new, cheaper extraction technique, but that was a short-lived boom which is already turning into a bust.

The diamond cartel does create vastly inflated prices for gem-quality diamonds, due to the De Beers monopoly and its artificial limits on mining. The same certainly isn’t true for the worldwide petroleum market. OPEC apparently does exercise an undue influence on pricing, but they can’t control the rate of production anywhere except their own countries.

Yes, there is a shortage of commercially viable oil deposits outside of OPEC countries, which means they can set the prices. It doesn’t mean there is any kind of shortage *in* the OPEC countries.

It is a matter of numbers, not actual scarcity. The price of oil is heavily influenced by how much it costs to extract the next barrel of oil. Let’s make up some fake numbers just to illustrate my point.

You could have 1 million bbl at one location that costs $7 to extract and transport, and 500 million bbl at another location that costs $70 to extract and transport. (and many other examples in between).

The cost of oil in the market would be lower if the oil company never has to tap that 500 million bbl at $70 extraction and transport price. That oil isn’t scarce, it is just expensive. Reducing oil consumption allows oil companies to continue to produce oil from cheaper sites, and leave a whole lot of that more expensive oil in the ground.

While that is true, there is enough cheap to extract oil left for the foreseeable future.

except there isn’t, otherwise they wouldn’t have already spent billions on deep water drilling, arctic drilling, shale oil extraction, etc.

No, that’s just to break the monopoly of the countries having plenty of easy to extract oil.

So, a company described by Wikipedia as “a global energy, chemicals, renewables, metals and mining research and consultancy group” predicts that peak oil won’t happen for another 18 years. Well, no doubt that will keep their customers happy!

But those whose income depends far less on Big Oil predict peak oil will happen much sooner than that, if it hasn’t happened already.

And it’s not only transportation which is going to shift away from using fossil fuels. Plastic manufacturing will likely switch to using sugar or starch for a base, rather than petroleum, as the price of oil continues to climb.

In my opinion, it’s more of a plateau than a peak that we are experiencing right now. The current usage will continue at the same level for a few years and then it will start dropping significantly.
The trigger factor for the big decline will be the commercial transportation sector. Once the semi-trucks and big buses go all electric, the oil industry will see huge dip in demand.

“Peak Oil” has been “peaking” for the last 50 years, a typical conspiracy theory with a constantly moving goal post.

I agree, PDX. The Oil Drum blog was founded in 2005 and one of its biggest causes was warning about the looming threat of Peak Oil. They had a lot of really impressive contributors who almost always warned about the dangers of peak oil.
They ceased publishing in 2013 as the Fracking boom took off and the plateau in production turned into a low spot in the road. All of their short term predictions turned out to be Chicken Little negativity. And oil production has been going up ever since. We will see a fall in production eventually and it will eventually be a large reduction, but don’t hold your breath. Oil is still cheap to produce and capitalism works, it finds ways to make obtaining a difficult to reach product, even deep sea oil fields, profitable.

Yes, the idea that we will run out of oil any time soon has been pretty much debunked. People talking about “peak oil” nowadays mean a peak in extraction due to demand starting to fall at some point, rather than supply.