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Even Oil Companies Know that Electric Cars are Inevitable

Many car companies and utilities have been preparing for the inevitable transition to electric vehicles (EVs), but oil companies have been dismissive about EV potential.

Until recently.  This week, at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance conference in New York City, the Chief Energy Economist of Total SA said that the company expects EVs to make up potentially 30-percent of all new vehicle sales as soon as the end of the next decade. Total is the world’s fourth largest oil and gas company and one of the world’s largest producers of crude, and hasn’t before forecast falling demand.

Yet he warned that demand for fuel oil “will flatten out” and “maybe even decline” at that point.

We have to remember that mobility demand will increase—miles driven will rise worldwide as populations around the world grow and get wealthier. 

That would normally drive much higher demand for oil to provide that mobility. But what we will see—thanks to electric vehicles and thanks to fuel efficiency improvements—that increase in transportation demand will result in much slower increases in fuel demand, and probably a point in time after 2030 and before 2040 when that demand will flatten out and maybe even begin to decline, depending on how rapidly the penetration of EVs occurs. 

The Total economist’s projections were even more conservative than some made recently by the CEO of Statoil, a Norwegian oil major.  Last fall, Statoil’s CEO predicted that oil demand will peak in the 2020s, and that EVs could represent a 35-percent share of new car sales by 2035.

These perspectives stand out in the oil and gas industry, as evidenced in this graphic from a presentation at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance conference. 

Particularly interesting to note that Volkswagen, which was actually late getting into the EV production game relative to other manufacturers like Ford, Chevy, and Tesla, is expecting that within eight years, a full one-quarter of its cars sold will be electric

Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s own research has predicted that EVs will make up 35-percent of new car sales by 2040

It’s worth noting that some analysts think that all of these predictions are far too conservative. Like Tony Seba of Stanford, who expects all new vehicles purchased to be electric vehicles by 2025, citing plummeting purchase and life cycle ownership costs, and other similar technological disruptions. 

States Ramp up Attacks on Incentives for Electric Vehicles

As federal support for electric vehicles (EVs) is expected to wither under the Trump administration, state-level policies will play the biggest political role in how quickly battery powered motors replace the internal combustion engine.

Yet, at this critical moment when state governments should be supporting zero-emission vehicles, many states are cutting their incentives, while others are penalizing EV drivers outright. Continue reading “States Ramp up Attacks on Incentives for Electric Vehicles”

Fueling U.S. Forward Sells Minorities on the Hope of Fossil Fuel Jobs

Besides the flashy website and some social media efforts, the Fueling U.S. Forward campaign has been working on the ground to capture the “hearts and minds” of minority communities and promote the benefits of fossil fuels. We’ve been tracking their activities here on KochvsClean—activities that have included a gospel concert and scholarships to African American students. 

The Daily Tar Heel, the student newspaper of the University of North Carolina, has a great article this week that highlights another strategy of Fueling U.S. Forward—using the promise of jobs to bolster the image of fossil fuels in minority communities.

Reporter Camille Vargas quotes Fueling U.S. Forward spokesperson Hubbel Relat, saying of the scholarships, “The main goal was to bring a conversation about opportunity that I think a lot of students at this event didn’t realize before…This big industry exists and they actually can enter it, and it can provide a job for them.”

Relat also said:

“Despite how important this industry is to all of our lives and our economy, the African-American communities and a lot of rural communities in general are underrepresented and left out of this industry…A lot of the time they are simply not made aware of the job opportunities in the industry.”

Vargas also reported for the first time that the $1,500 scholarships were intended for an electrical lineman training program. Which, it should be noted, would serve the trainees quite well to work on an electric grid powered by clean, renewable energy. In fact, the the growth of renewable resources on the grid is creating more jobs than the the centralized fossil fuel-powered system of the past. According to North Carolina’s own Duke University, the growth of the smart grid is one of the country’s most promising potential job markets. 

Read the whole Daily Tar Heel article here.

Image: Daily Herald of Roanoake