Is Big Oil planning its own funeral?

The end of the Oil Age is within sight. Everyone who follows the news should be able to see this by now, although people have vastly different ideas about the timeline.

Above: Internal Combustion Engine vs. Battery Electric Vehicle (Instagram: cars217mph / gunthersahagun)

Consultancies, investment analysts and think tanks around the world produce a constant stream of predictions about the future impact of new technologies on the auto and oil industries. Despite the pundits’ painstaking perusal of primary sources, including economic data and interviews with industry insiders, their conclusions do not agree, to say the least.

The oil industry itself, along with mainstream investment banks, tends to foresee a gradual, decades-long transition. BP’s 2017 Energy Outlook predicts that electric vehicle (EV) sales will grow to a mere 6% of the global auto market by 2035 (from around 1% today). A recent report by Goldman Sachs is a bit more adventurous, predicting that pure EVs will capture 5% of the market by 2025. The US Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) has doubled its forecast from last year, but still predicts that EVs will account for only 8% of the US market in 2025.

Sign of the times: Emirates National Oil Company just opened the first solar-powered gas station in Dubai (Source: CleanTechnica)

Organizations of a more greenish hue are more sanguine: Greentech Media Research expects EVs to score 12% of the US market in 2025, and Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts 35% globally by 2040. A study from the Carbon Tracker Initiative argues that EVs could capture 33% of the global market by 2035, and that reductions in battery costs

“could halt growth in global demand for oil from 2020.”

To those who follow the EV industry, none of this is really news. Lately, however, there have been signs that at least some in the oil industry are reassessing the threat to their empire, and preparing for a “peak oil” scenario that may come much sooner than they have been predicting.

Another sign of the times: RWE, Germany’s biggest gas and energy provider, just launched hundreds of electric vehicle charging stations (Source: Trustnodes)

Read more: Evannex

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