Policies designed to minimise and redefine dependence upon oil for transportation have been the talk of many towns around the world over the past several years, leading Navigant Research to posit that gasoline consumption for road transportation will fall by 4% from 2014 to 2035.
Policies intended to reduce fuel consumption have ranged from subsidising alternative fuels and alternative-fuel vehicles, making the development of new and economic biofuels a priority, as well as higher fuel-economy requirements for new vehicles. Each policy has been one step in a cleaner future, and another nail in the coffin of traditional fuel-oriented transportation.
“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.”
With more than 1.2 billion vehicles on the world’s roads today — a number which continues to grow each year — global dependence upon oil couldn’t be higher. This is a dependence many governments would like to extricate themselves from, as it is a dependence which results in major costs affecting national energy security, environmental security, economic stability, and in some situations, real national security.
Navigant Research predicts that annual global road transportation-related energy consumption will grow from 81.1 quadrillion Btu in 2014 to 101.7 quadrillion Btu in 2035. In slightly less frightening numbers, that means that gasoline consumption will rise through to 2021, reaching 367.3 billion gallons a year, before beginning to fall, declining towards 348.1 billion gallons a year in 2035.
We’ve seen the rise of the electric vehicle over the past decade, and more recently the idea of alternative-fuels has grown in popularity as well. As we move forward, and governmental policies start to force change rather than simply incentivise it, we will no doubt see a greater shift in the way that the transport industry responds.
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