A new report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (pay wall) claims electric buses displace far more fossil fuels than electric cars. China, which has put more electric buses into service than the rest of the world combined, leads the way when it comes to reducing the use of fossil fuels — primarily diesel — in its transportation sector.
Overall, the report says that by the end of 2019 electric buses will displace 270,000 barrels a day of diesel fuel — three times the amount of gasoline displaced by electric cars worldwide. By 2040, electric vehicles could displace much as 6.4 million barrels a day of demand, while fuel efficiency improvements will erase another 7.5 million barrels a day, according to BNEF’s May 2018 long-term EV outlook.
China has more than 100 cities with a population of 1 million people. Buses are a primary means of transportation for many of those people. The city of Xi’an in northwest China now has more than 3,000 electric buses in service, 200 of them double decker buses designed to meet the needs of the tourist industry, which is especially vibrant in that area. 200 electric double decker buses manufactured by BYD have just been placed in service for that specific purpose.
In Shenzhen, home to BYD and the bridge between mainland China and Hong Kong, diesel buses have been replaced entirely by electric buses. Today, there are 16,359 electric buses in service in and around the city. That’s more electric buses than there are in New York, Los Angeles, New Jersey, Chicago, and Toronto combined.
Previously, diesel powered buses in the area accounted for 20% of all vehicle emissions in the city, even though they made up only 0.5% of the total number of vehicles on the road in Shenzhen. Now all those emissions have been eliminated.
Electric buses cost more than conventional buses, but only if one ignores the health benefits that accrue from not poisoning people with the pollution that spews from all diesel engines. In addition, electric buses cost less to operate and maintain, partially offsetting the initial cost increase.
So far, electric cars have not made enough of a difference in gasoline and diesel consumption to be of much concern to fossil fuel companies. But losing 270,000 barrels a day in sales due to electric buses — a number that is sure to rise as other cities adopt electric buses for their transportation fleets — has to worry them, at least a little.
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