We love covering electric vehicle sales and new electric vehicle models, but something we get to cover much less is how much oil is not being burned due to all of these new electric vehicles.
“Global oil demand for road transport is expected to reach roughly 42.3 million barrels a day in 2023, a slight increase over the past year,” BloombergNEF (BNEF) writes. What may surprise people is electric cars weren’t the #1 source of avoided oil use here. Here are more details from the information firm:
Electric vehicles and fuel-cell vehicles are expected to avoid almost 1.8 million barrels of oil a day in 2023, or about 4.1% of road transport sector demand. This is up from 1.5 million barrels a day in 2022.
Avoided oil consumption increased by almost two and a half times from 2015 to 2023, up from ~720,000 barrels of oil per day in 2015. This is expected to accelerate.
Two- and three-wheeled EVs account for about 60% of the oil demand avoided in 2023 due to their rapid adoption and large fleet, particularly in China, Southeast Asia and India.
Passenger EVs surpassed buses in 2022 to become the second-largest source of avoided oil demand. In 2023, passenger EVs are estimated to represent 23% of total avoided oil demand, while buses and commercial vehicles should represent 13% and 3%, respectively.
Under BNEF’s base-case Economic Transition Scenario, EVs and FCVs are set to displace 12.4 million barrels of oil a day by 2035. Under BNEF’s Net Zero Scenario, which achieves a zero-emission vehicle fleet globally by mid-century, an additional 4 million barrels more a day are displaced in 2035.
That’s right — BNEF says that almost twice as many barrels of oil are not burnt each day because of electric two-wheelers and three-wheelers than because of passenger electric cars, trucks, and SUVs! It’s unfortunate, but we clearly aren’t covering that market to the degree warranted globally.
Naturally, less oil being burnt means less CO2 emissions. BNEF estimates that electric vehicles currently prevent 112 million metric tons of CO2 emissions per year. And this is net emissions reductions, also taking into account the emissions from extra electricity generation.
Unfortunately, we are just at the beginning of what’s needed to eliminate global-heating emissions from road transport. “There is a long way to go — estimated avoided emissions for 2023 are only about 2% of all emissions from road transport.” It takes a long time to turn over the vehicle fleet and get all fossil-powered cars, trucks, SUVs, buses, motorcycles, scooters, and tuk-tuks off the road. But you’ve got to start somewhere.