Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Peak Oil Returns:  Why Demand Will Likely Peak by 2030 - by Joe Romm

Will global oil demand peak by 2030?   Is peak oil demand the new peak oil supply?  Many trends now point in the direction of this remarkable possibility:
  • In December the nations of the world agreed unanimously in Paris to leave most of the world fossil fuels in the ground.
  • Oil demand has been declining in developed countries for over a decade.
  • Electric vehicle sales are exploding around the world, especially China.
  • Battery prices are continuing their unexpectedly rapid price drop.
  • Tesla and Chevy now say their new 200-mile-range EV could cost Americans $30,000 — a game-changing price.
Declining Prospects for Oil (Credit: Bloomberg) Click to Enlarge.
In November, a Bloomberg Business story, “The Oil Industry Has Been Put on Notice,” warned “the transformation of oil markets may be coming sooner than we think.”  This recent Bloomberg New Energy Finance chart includes oil forecasts the International Energy Agency (IEA) has made since 1994:

Is it possible that the world is actually going to follow the path of the “Transport Transformation Scenario” and peak in oil demand by 2030 or so?  At this point I think is not only possible, but likely.

It is increasingly clear that technology will be here to make that possible — indeed, the technology is almost here now (see this recent post, “Tesla And GM Announce Affordable, Long-Range Electric Cars”).  Same with the renewables needed to power electric cars carbon-free (see Why The Renewables Revolution Is Now Unstoppable).
“If China gets moving on electric cars then that would automatically lower prices and have a favorable ripple effect across the whole world,” as Ernst and Young auto expert Jean-Francois Belorgey has said.  That is precisely what happened in the solar photovoltaics industry, which led to the exponential explosion in solar power worldwide this decade.

We appear near the same kind of inflection point in batteries and electric cars that we were in PV.  Yes, oil prices are low, but even at these prices, EVs still have a much lower per-mile fueling cost than gasoline cars.

Read more at Peak Oil Returns: Why Demand Will Likely Peak by 2030

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