People sometimes speak of a threat to advanced-tech vehicles by “Big Oil” in conspiratorial tones, but the public face of Exxon Mobil Corporation acknowledges they are on their way, as outlined in its study: The Outlook for Energy: A View to 2040 .

With a long lens looking 30 years hence, the Outlook envisions a world whose population has swelled to nine billion. As humanity adapts, copes and overcomes, also on this horizon is a projected doubling of global GDP, while global energy demand increases 30 percent above what it was in 2010.


In this brave new world, hybrids and other advanced-tech vehicles will be common place says the voice from America’s energy past which no doubt plans to be part of America’s energy future:

ExxonMobil expects that by 2040, hybrids and other advanced vehicles will account for nearly 50 percent of light duty vehicles on the road, compared to only about 1 percent today. The vast majority will be hybrids that use mainly gasoline plus a small amount of battery power; these will make up more than 40 percent of the global fleet by 2040. Globally, ExxonMobil expects to see growth in plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles, along with compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) powered vehicles. However, these will account for only about 5 percent of the global fleet in 2040, their growth limited by cost and functionality considerations. -Exxon Mobil

Additionally, to achieve proposed fuel-economy targets, personal vehicles will need to be smaller and lighter than they are today, says the Outlook, adding that vehicle downsizing could account for more than one-third of total projected fuel economy improvements through 2040.


Globally, ExxonMobil expects the average new car to get 48 mpg in 2040, compared to 27 mpg in 2010.

Of all advanced-tech vehicles, Exxon Mobil foresees success for vehicle types that will still use its products. Namely, hybrids – which some might say includes Voltec vehicles – will be preeminent say the forecasters.

Class-wide, by 2030, it’s projected hybrids will cost on average $1,500 more than a similar sized internally combusted model.

In contrast, a CNG vehicle will go for $4,000 more on average, and an electric vehicle will be a not-insubstantial $12,000 more than conventional vehicles of similar size.

Keep in mind this is a global forecast, and much growth is expected to come from developing countries including China, India and those in Africa.

Driven particularly by economic growth in nations not affiliated wit the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Outlook says demand for energy for commercial transportation including ships, airplanes, trucks and trains, will rise by 70 percent.

ExxonMobil expects that heavy duty vehicles will grow significantly more fuel-efficient over the next 30 years. However, these improvements will be partially offset by operating factors such as increased road congestion and evolving delivery trends. As a result, by 2030, the world will use more fuel for trucks and other heavy duty vehicles than for all personal vehicles combined. By 2040, heavy duty fuel demand will be up about 60 percent versus 2010.-Exxon Mobil

This shift will be reflected in the market for transportation fuels. Demand for diesel—the most popular fuel for heavy duty vehicles—will rise by 85 percent through 2040, while gasoline demand will fall by about 10 percent.


Demand for petroleum and other liquid fuels – driven by transportation needs – will go up by almost 30 percent. To supply this, the likes of Exxon Mobil and others will scour the ends of the earth, sourcing increasingly from deepwater drilling, oil sands, tight oil, natural gas liquids and biofuels.

At the same time, global demand for electricity will increase as much as 80 percent by 2040, the Outlook says.

Along with growing world economies, standards of living are also projected to improve, and this will see consumers switching to electricity from sources such as oil, coal or biomass. Four out of every 10 units of energy produced in the world by 2040 will be going toward the production of electricity, the Outlook says.

Natural gas is projected to supply 30 percent of the world’s electricity by 2040, and of this, natural gas from shale and similar sources will account for 30 percent of global production.

The Outlook also foresees demand for coal as peaking then experiencing its first long-term decline in modern history.


Findings in this year’s Outlook include:

• While global energy demand is expected to rise by about 30 percent from 2010 to 2040, demand growth would be approximately four times that amount without projected gains in efficiency. Efficiency is the key reason why energy demand will rise by only about 1 percent a year on average even as global GDP rises by nearly 3 percent a year. It also is the reason why OECD energy demand will remain relatively unchanged through 2040 even as its economic output nearly doubles.
• In transportation, the second-fastest growing demand sector behind electricity generation, ExxonMobil sees advanced hybrid vehicles accounting for 50 percent of the cars people will drive in 2040, compared to about 1 percent today. This, plus improved fuel economy in conventional vehicles, will cause demand for energy for personal vehicles to remain essentially flat through 2040 even as the number of personal vehicles in the world doubles.
• However, demand for energy for commercial transportation -- trucks, airplanes, ships and trains -- will rise by more than 70 percent, driven by economic growth, particularly in Non OECD nations.
• Natural gas will continue to be the fastest-growing major fuel, and demand will increase by about 60 percent from 2010 to 2040. Growth is particularly strong in the Non OECD countries in the Asia Pacific region, where demand for natural gas is expected to triple over the next 30 years.
• While growth in nuclear capacity is expected to slow in the near-term, demand for nuclear power is projected to nearly double over The Outlook for Energy period as nations seek to lower emissions and diversify energy sources.
• Renewable fuels will see strong growth. By 2040, more than 15 percent of the world's electricity will be generated by renewable fuels – solar, wind, biofuels, biomass, geothermal and hydroelectric power. The fastest-growing of these will be wind, which will increase by about 8 percent per year from 2010 to 2040.

Green Car Congress , Exxon Mobil


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