Electric scooters slashing oil demand four times faster than electric cars – report

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Electric two-wheelers are reducing demand for fossil fuels by one million barrels a day, a new report claims.

Electric scooters are reducing demand for oil by 1 million barrels a day – almost equivalent to Australia’s daily consumption – according to reports by news and feature website The Conversation, and news agency Bloomberg.

The reports estimate that uptake of electric scooters in countries such as China – where they are a more common form of transport, and legal in all regions of the country – has seen them reduce demand for oil four times faster than electric cars and trucks.

It cites the number of four-wheeled, battery-powered vehicles on the world’s roads – around 20 million passenger vehicles and 1.3 million commercial electric buses, delivery vans and trucks in 2022 – paling in comparison to the staggering 280 million e-scooters and electric motorcycles being ridden.

At a lower cost to buy and run, electric scooters also make sense for many journeys in Australia, with 44 per cent of trips here less than 10km. In the US, that figure rises to 60 per cent.

The sheer number of electric two- and three-wheelers has seen a fall in appetite by one million barrels a day, equating to an estimated one per cent of global daily demands.

Australia’s daily oil consumption rate in September 2023, according to data platform Knoema, was 1,058,000 barrels.

That’s slightly less than a decade ago, with a peak daily figure of 1,113,000 barrels consumed in Australia in 2013 according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

According to a report by Ernst and Young published in November 2023, 3.6 million Australians used an electric scooter in 2022.

The relatively small number of electric cars on Australia’s roads – making up 7.2 per cent of total new vehicle sales in 2023, and a lower percentage of the total vehicle fleet – means they may not have made any discernible, long-term impact on oil consumption here.

In contrast, Norway is a world leader in electric-vehicle sales, with 80 per cent of new cars sold there in 2021 being electric. Yet according to Forbes, demand for petrol and diesel in the country has declined a modest 10 per cent since 2017, to 62,000 barrels a day.

Part of the relatively minimal impact on oil consumption in the Scandinavian country may be attributed to the small footprint of electric vehicles there, with three million cars on its roads, of which only 500,000 are electric.

Heavy transport has also played a factor in Norway’s continued reliance on oil, Forbes suggests.

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