The oil industry giant BP is now expecting that self-driving plug-in electric vehicles will dampen oil demand by 2040, according to its most recent annual Energy Outlook report.
To be more exact, the company is apparently expecting electric vehicle adoption to grow 100-fold by 2040 — with BP’s chief economist Spencer Dale arguing that miles-traveled will continue rising but that these will be increasingly via robo taxi services.
The overall idea to make note of here is that BP is now predicting peak consumer demand for oil to arrive by around 2040 — publicly anyways.
Peak consumer demand is of course possibly something different than peak demand as a whole — if a large round of wars between major powers was to kick off before then, for example, then oil demand would very likely boom for the duration (however long that would be).
Reuters provides more:
“Under BP’s Evolving Transition scenario, which assumes that policies and technology continue to evolve at a speed similar to that seen in the recent past, some 30% of car kilometers are powered by electricity by 2040 from almost zero in 2016.
“At the same time, the number of EVs is set to increase from 3 million today to over 320 million by 2040, representing roughly 15% out of a total car fleet of 2 billion. The gap between the increasing number of EVs on the road and the kilometers powered by electricity is due to the expected growth in so-called shared mobility by EVs, Dale said.
“As a result, fuel demand from the car fleet is forecast to dip to 18.6 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2040 from 18.7 million bpd in 2016, when it represented around one fifth of total oil demand, according to BP.”
These projections are based on company expectations that self-driving vehicles will become widely available by the early 2020s — a timeline that matches that of many industry observers. BP also expects that these initial offerings will be fairly expensive, and will thus mostly only be purchased by fleet managers.
This apparently plays into the expectation of elective vehicle adoption growth. Electric vehicles are much cheaper to maintain than gas-petrol or diesel vehicles, and fleet operators are pragmatic.